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After facing Flyers “D”, Tangradi feels more confident in his game

Locker Room Talking Points
Following today’s practice i caught up with Eric Tangradi, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy. Here are some talking points from each player:
On Eric Tangradi
Coming off his first career NHL home game, Tangradi was a confident player this afternoon. He was very pleased with his play and believes he did the things that got him on the roster.
“Thought I played well, ” Tangradi said about his performance against Philadelphia. “I mean I thought I did the things to get me to this point last night. i was protecting the puck well, went to the net hard…..It’s kind of a start to my foundation and can only get better from that game, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Tangradi made his NHL debut last April against the New York Islanders in the Penguins regular season finale. Thursday night though was his first test against an NHL caliber group of defenseman 1-6, even minus Chris Pronger.
Seeing a top-2 pairing for most of the night, I asked Eric if there was anything he could take out of facing the Flyers strong group of defensemen. He gave me an interesting answer, saying the way he performed against the Flyers is giving him confidence to use his puck skills more.
“If anything, most I got out of the game was confidence, ” Tangradi said. “I felt like the game wasn’t much different and I was able to use my size and my strength and it wasn’t that different. I’m taking the next step understanding that I can beat defensemen out of the corner and take the puck to the net.
Regarding the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night, Tangradi said today he is looking forward to catching up with Canadiens defenseman PK Subban. The two played together in juniors with the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League and Tangradi said that Subban helped guide him and that the two remain very close friends.
On Mark Letestu
In the season opener, the Penguins third line of Matt Cooke, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy played a puck possession game and created several early scoring chances and Tyler Kennedy later scored the Penguins first goal of the game, 44 seconds into the third period.
Letestu who has little NHL experience handled himself well, seeing 15:18 of ice time, recording 3 shots on goal, hit a post and was 71.4% in the face-off circle.
“I thought we handled ourselves pretty good, ” Letestu said. “I think we would have liked to put a few more in…..Created a lot of opportunities, but didn’t get the results we wanted but was also our first game and we fared alright.”
Heading into Saturday nights game against Montreal, Letestu said a primary focus for the unit is to just keep creating opportunities.
“I think all three guys are quick in their own way, ” Letestu said. “If we can get on the forecheck, wear the opposition down, get extended zone time shifts…I think that’s what we’re looking for. We know we’re not going to score every night but just want to keep creating opportunities and wear down the oppositions defense.”
One area where Letestu could potentially make his mark on the team is in the face-off circle as the Penguins don’t have an adequate right handed centermen..
This is an area Letestu has worked extremely hard on to improve and was 10-of-14 in the season opener.
“Yesterday went really well, ” Letestu said. “Might just have been a situation where you match up against a particular set of guys good but it’s a good start.”
” You know, it’s one game percentage can go down in a hurry, ” Letestu said. “So, it’s something I want to stay on top of. Montreal gave me some trouble last year and it’s another challenge tomorrow night.”
On Tyler Kennedy
Tyler Kennedy who had a goal against the Flyers and was the games No. 3 star, talked about the chemistry he’s building with Mark Letestu.
“Yeah, I thought we played well as a line, ” Kennedy said. “I think we’re {Kennedy, Cooke} starting to build chemistry with Letestu. Me and Cookie {Matt Cooke} already have pretty good chemistry and Letestu is feeling in great.”
Kennedy on being patient in the offensive zone….
“Yeah, for sure, I want to be as patient as I can. “The more you have the puck, the more they don’t have the puck, the more chances you get, so just trying to hang onto the puck and try to make it a part of my game.”
Just a week ago, many we’re speculating whether Kennedy had a role or even a spot on the team. He had to battle extremely hard in camp and an injury to Arron Asham opened up an opportunity for him to make a statement that he’s still a focal point of his team.
“I always want to make a statement, ” Kennedy said. “With every game I’m trying to play my best. I know I’m going to play in this league and I know I’m a good hockey player.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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