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Old 02-26-2011, 11:36 PM   #501
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Kovalev lifts Penguins in shootout
By Rob Rossi, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 27, 2011

TORONTO — The number on the back of the jersey is different.

However, on Saturday night the Penguins saw some of that same old special stuff from the new/old guy with their crest once again on his chest.

Alex Kovalev's 150th goal as a Penguin — and first in eight years — started their unexpected scoring binge, and his Round 2 shootout goal lifted his club past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-5, at Air Canada Centre.

"He gave a little speech after we won," Penguins forward Max Talbot said of Kovalev, who was acquired Thursday from the Ottawa Senators to help provide some offensive punch to an injury-depleted squad that had scored only 26 goals in February before this win.

"He said he was happy to be here, and it's important for him to see this team have success."

Kovalev, who often starred for the Penguins from 1998-2003, said this win, which featured the Penguins giving way a third-period lead before pulling even, didn't show him anything about this team.

"I've seen this team, playing against them, and I know what they're like, how they compete," he said. "I'm just trying to do the same thing."

The Penguins (37-21-6, 80 points) maintain a four-point lead on the Washington Capitals for the fourth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage in at least Round 1 of the playoffs.

This victory, only their third in the past 11 games, bailed out goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who surrendered five goals on 31 shots after being pulled Friday night from a loss at Carolina following three goals allowed on 11 shots.

"We played their style a little bit, and we gave up some goals because we gave them great chances," forward Mike Rupp said.

Added Talbot, whose short-handed goal — and first against a goalie since Nov. 29 — preceded Rupp's tying marker near the midpoint of the third period: "We needed to win this one for 'Flower.' He's been winning us some games. I talked to him after the game and he said, 'Hey, thanks for scoring some goals.' We owed him."

Coach Dan Bylsma won't practice the Penguins today, and his top defenseman certainly is owed a measure of rest and relaxation.

Kris Letang, with a look-at-me showing for his first Norris Trophy nomination in this hockey-mad city, played 32 minutes and 47 seconds — including 24:25 at even strength. He attempted nine shots. (freaking unreal....considering he had about the same amount of ice time the night before)

Center Mark Letestu, playing for the first time in exactly a month, registered seven shots. He also scored his 11th goal in the second period to tie the score, 2-2, with four minutes remaining.

With 16 seconds before the intermission, forward Dustin Jeffrey — playing in a second straight game after missing five in a row — pushed the Penguins ahead.

The Maple Leafs (27-27-8, 62 points), needing every possible point to qualify for the playoffs, responded with a sense of desperation in the third period. Goals from wingers Clark MacArthur and Joffrey Lupul — his second of the game — in the opening 3:27 pulled them even and pushed them ahead, 4-3.

A bench penalty for too many men left the Penguins short-handed, and Talbot scored — but Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf capitalized on the same power play to give them control.

That lasted all of about 90 seconds, as Rupp's first goal in 13 games set up a frenzied finish and displayed the no-quit attitude his team has adopted despite playing most of this calendar year without superstar centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

With Kovalev, Letestu and Jeffrey back, and lineup staples such as defenseman Paul Martin and left wing Chris Kunitz perhaps soon to return, maybe the darkest days are behind the Penguins.

"Well, we got it (last night)," coach Dan Bylsma said, "and we got it from different people who've been inserted into our lineup.

"We'll take it."



Read more: Kovalev lifts Penguins in shootout - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1F8PaDtaq
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:51 PM   #502
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Some more good news today...

Quote:
They made room on their roster today for the return of left wing Chris Kunitz and defenseman Paul Martin by re-assigning center Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Brian Strait to the AHL.

Kunitz, who has scored 18 goals, has missed the last 10 games with an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Martin, second among team defensemen with 21 points, has missed four consecutive games because of a sore right shoulder and neck.

Read more: Pens not close on more trades as NHL deadline approaches - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1FCcH862X
They reassigned Vitale as well today.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:18 PM   #503
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Injury updates from today...

Quote:
"Nick Johnson, Eric Tangradi, Arron Asham, still out with a concussion. (obviously Crosby too)

"Our goaltender Brent Johnson is day-to-day with a lower-body. Just a day of rest. Hopefully, we’ll see him on the ice (Tuesday), but he’s day-to-day.

"Alex Kovalev, we sent him home after the game in Toronto to get his stuff. He got some more stuff yesterday, and his flight today was cancelled due to the weather that we experienced last evening. That was why he wasn’t on the ice for practice.

"TK is lower-body and day-to-day at this point in time.

"Chris Kunitz still is not ready to progress back to full practice at this point in time. He’s been skating pretty heavily on his own. He’s not back to full contact practice."
Quote:
Paul Martin

On how he’s feeling:
I’m still a little bit weak. I’m not too concerned about the injury. It’s just the strength thing that needs to come back.

On when he hopes to come back:

Hopefully Wednesday. Today was the first actual practice, with getting hit and everything. We’ll see how it responds (Tuesday) and hopefully I’ll be good for Wednesday.
Quote:
Dan Bylsma

On if he is getting progressively less optimistic about getting Crosby back by the end of the regular season:
I don’t know the recovery time that you’re talking about. I don’t know what the steps are to get back. So to be honest, I haven’t given (a thought to) what ‘progressively’ means, we’re focused on right now. I get a report on how he’s doing, but we’re not talking about dates or timetables or projections into which month, which day, which time of the year (his return is) possible.

On if re-assigning players to WBS was procedural and if they could call someone back up soon:
Yes, some of it was procedural, and yes, someone possibly – depending on what the deadline is – could come back. If Alex was out there today, we only had 10 forwards. Eric Godard was the 10th forward out there today. So Alex would make 10. So we would possibly call up a player depending on what happens today.


http://penguins.nhl.com/club/news.ht...id=DL|PIT|home
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:49 AM   #504
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Shero commits to current roster
By Rob Rossi, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The likelihood is that the Penguins will chase the Cup without former NHL scoring champions Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Their respective absences had granted general manager Ray Shero the salary-cap space needed to make even more moves before the NHL trade deadline Monday. He had already added a couple of potential impact wingers, James Neal and Alex Kovalev, and defenseman Matt Niskanen last week.

Shero spoke with many fellow GMs in the hours before the 3 p.m. deadline yesterday. He opted against saying "done deal" because of an intangible fortified over these past two tumultuous months by the players who have kept the Penguins from falling apart.

"The thing we have with this team is the guys who have been here and won," he said. "This is a character group of guys. They work really hard for each other. They care for each other.

"A couple of things came our way over the last day or two to bring a guy into our locker room that we weren't sure of."

Certainly the high cost of upgrading played a big part in Shero's decision to hold off on making a deadline-day deal - say, for center Jason Arnott, who went from New Jersey to Washington.

The few playoff teams that made deals yesterday paid a significant price in the form of either high draft picks or top prospects. Arnott cost the Capitals David Steckel and a second-round pick in 2012.

Had Shero held simply to avoid bringing more uncertainty to the Penguins, well, that would have proven a sensible decision.

After all, the only sure thing about the Penguins is they will finish the season having not once fielded a lineup with the players Shero envisioned being regulars.

After a game Wednesday at Toronto, the Penguins (37-21-6, 80 points) will have lost nearly 250 man-games to injury.

In the lineup against the Maple Leafs will be seven players who helped the Penguins win Game 7 of the Cup Final at Detroit in 2009: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury; forwards Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Max Talbot and Craig Adams; and defenseman Kris Letang.

Those seven players will eventually get help by the returns from injury of two other Cup winners, left wing Chris Kunitz and defenseman Brooks Orpik, and playoff-tested veteran defenseman Paul Martin.

The Penguins will add players responsible for 18 goals (Kunitz), 21 points (Martin) and 117 hits/88 blocked shots (Orpik) after the trade deadline. No other NHL team can claim such impact additions after today.

Still, by not making another pre-deadline move, Shero has entrusted two rookies - center Mark Letestu and left wing Dustin Jeffrey - with the responsibility of helping fill offensive voids created by the losses of Malkin and Crosby.

The combined 16 goals from Letestu and Jeffrey are one more than Malkin had scored before he went down for the season with a right-knee injury, and half of Crosby's total since he last played because of concussion symptoms.

Maybe Shero is showing too much faith in a couple of players who were prospects before this season.

His other option was to place blind faith in players from other teams who yesterday would have cost the Penguins either picks or prized prospects.

"We're going to stick with Jeffrey and Letestu," Shero said, "and we think we'll be better for it."



Read more: Shero commits to current roster - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1FKP13Mbs
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:37 AM   #505
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Quote:
From the Pens' lines today it looks like Letestu will be centering between Neal and Kovalev, with the Cooke-Staal-Kennedy line reuniting.

Neal-Letestu-Kovalev
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Talbot-Jeffrey-Dupuis
Conner-Adams-Rupp
(Godard-Kunitz)

Martin-Michalek
Engelland-Letang
Lovejoy-Niskanen


11:11 AM:
The Pens have taken the ice for their 11 a.m. practice at Southpointe. Kennedy has joined his teammates in practice. A few other positives are that Chris Kunitz and Brent Johnson, both of whom missed practice Monday, are back with the team today. Plus, Paul Martin is on the ice for the second straight day of full practice.

The usual suspects are absent: Crosby, Comrie, Asham, Nick Johnson, Tangradi and Orpik are not on the ice.
Quote:
MARCH MUSTACHE BOY: CHRIS KUNITZ
http://penguins.nhl.com/club/news.ht...id=DL|PIT|home
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:12 PM   #506
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Alex Kovalev happy to be back in a Penguins uniform
By Josh Yohe, MCKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

• Two games into his second stint with the Penguins, Alex Kovalev is a happy man. Sitting in the locker room at Southpointe for the first time in eight years, Kovalev joked about how everything in Western Pennsylvania seems the same. And for him, this is a good thing. The best years of Kovalev's career were with the Penguins, and he is delighted to be back. "I drove around the city and went to some old places to eat," Kovalev said of his Monday afternoon routine. "It doesn't feel like it has been almost 10 years. It's amazing that a lot of things still look the same, and I am just happy to be here again."

• Kovalev found himself separated from C Jordan Staal in Tuesday's practice. He skated on a line with C Mark Letestu and LW James Neal, while Staal skated with longtime wingers Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy.

• Kennedy and D Paul Martin practiced yesterday and will play tonight against the Maple Leafs.

• LW Chris Kunitz practiced with the team yesterday but still has not been cleared to return to the lineup and likely won't play until next week.

• The team practiced the power play more than usual yesterday, with Kovalev seeing the bulk of the time on the right wing boards. D Kris Letang and Martin played the points, while Staal and Neal worked down low with the first unit.

• C Dustin Jeffrey was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and figures to be with the Penguins the remainder of the season.



Read more: Alex Kovalev happy to be back in a Penguins uniform - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1FPr9IBNc
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:14 PM   #507
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Sagging penalty-kill concerns Penguins
By Josh Yohe, MCKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Penguins still lead the league in penalty killing but have slipped in recent games, looking vulnerable in the area that has been their greatest strength.

Ordinary short-handed play for these Penguins simply won't do, which is precisely why a meeting was called Monday.

The league's top penalty-killing unit looks to get on track tonight in Toronto, knowing full well it must excel for the Penguins to maintain their grip on the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"There are a lot of factors right now," left wing Matt Cooke said. "There are areas we've been so good at all year that have fallen off. We just need to refocus and get on the same page."

The Penguins' penalty-killing unit has dealt with adversity all season:

• Jordan Staal, one of the league's premier penalty killers, missed the season's first 39 games.

• The Penguins have been among the league's most penalized teams virtually all season.

• Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, two of the team's best defensemen, have missed recent games because of injuries.

• Cooke, another of the league's best penalty killers, was recently suspended for four games.


Read more: Sagging penalty-kill concerns Penguins - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1FPrUowLO
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:09 PM   #508
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Pens play Toronto @ 7pm tonight (in Toronto, again).

Kennedy and Martin will both make returns tonight. Kunitz may play this weekend. Crosby still has concussion symptoms, as do Johnson, Asham and Tangradi.

With an OT win last night, the Caps (5th place) have pulled within 2 points of the Pens...so tonights game (and every game after this) is extremely important in ensuring home ice for at least the first round.
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:44 AM   #509
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Pens lose to the Leafs in OT...so at least they got a point out of that I guess. Definitely needed 2 against them. Philly plays them tonight...so go Leafs I guess lol.

On to the red hot Devils on Friday!
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:41 PM   #510
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Default Re: New Official Pens Tidbits Thread

Sid's agent speaks (in French)

http://www.cyberpresse.ca/sports/hoc...7_accueil_POS3


Via telephone interview with La Presse, Patrice Brisson, agent of superstar Sidney Crosby, has confirmed that his celebrity client has yet to resume training, and is still suffering symptoms as a result of a concussion suffered on January 1st.

“Sidney is still suffering from symptoms, and we have to be careful with him” said the Quebec based agent. “He’s progressing slowly, but these things are always difficult to predict. He hasn’t played in 8 weeks, and everyone knows that the second concussion is worse than the first.”

It seems more and more that the Cole Harbour native will not play again this season. It’s said that Crosby may have to patiently wait until May to once again wear his equipment – provided that the Penguins are still in contention by that time.

Brisson admits that time is running out.

“Will he be able to play by the end of the season? It’s already March, there are six weeks left in the season, and he hasn’t even begun skating alone, much less with the team... It’s very difficult to say right now. Sidney is doing well, his morale is high and he’s been doing a lot of reading on concussions.

But he’s not the same. His symptoms are still there, he doesn’t feel the way he normally feels, and he knows it. He doesn’t feel like himself.
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