The Penguins went through another up-tempo intense practice this morning which is becoming a common theme under Interim head coach Dan Bylsma.
20 players skated; (11 Forwards – 7 Defensemen – 2 Goalies)
The two players who did not skate were
wingers Matt Cooke and Ruslan Fedotenko
Dan Bylsma has ran three practices during his time as head coach and practices are much different than they were under Michel Therrien. Many of Michel Therrien’s practices seemed like morning skates.
The Penguins began practice with a couple shooting drills to warm up the goalies
2-on-1’s & 2-on-0’s
The Penguins spent a good part of 15-20 minutes doing 2-on-1 drills and 2-on-0 drills. The 2-on-1 drills also had a backchecker. Players went with their lines in these drills. What was interesting is Ryan Whitney did not take a shift as a defenseman during this drill. He skated with Eric Godard and Max Talbot as either a forward or backchecker. Might have been because Cooke and Fedotenko were missing
The 2-on-0’s had an emphasis on the puck carrier pulling up inside the blue line and the other forward driving to the net.
Power Play – Penalty Kill
5-on-4 1st Power Play Unit
Staal – Sykora – Crosby
Left Point – Malkin: Right Point: Gonchar
Evgeni Malkin played the left point. They were working on a lot of set plays as Coach Bylsma drew them up on the board. They were using Petr Sykora in the middle of the slot as a decoy. Sykora would have the option of shooting the puck in the slot or tipping the puck to Staal or Crosby on the left or right side
5-on-4 2nd power play unit
Satan – Kennedy – Minard
Left Point: Mark Eaton – Right Point: Kris Letang
*Ryan Whitney did not work with the 1st or second unit which was interesting.
5-on-3 1st Power Unit
Letang – Sykora – Crosby
Left Point: Gonchar – Right Point: Malkin
* Kris Letang, a healthy scratch the past couple games worked with the first unit in 5-on-3 situations. He was positioned on the left side down low for a one timer. Bylsma was working with him a lot during this sequence. Penguins were moving the puck well. Worked on another set play where Gonchar fakes a slap shot, makes a crisp pass to Letang who gives a quick pass to Malkin for a one-timer. Gonchar and Malkin alternate on this play as Gonchar ends up on the right side and Malkin moves over to the left side for a one-timer
Letang looked nervous as he made a couple errand passes but controled the puck down low and scored on a one-timer.
Bylsma shows a lot more instruction: A major difference between Bylsma and Therrien is how much Bylsma communicates to his players in practice. Sort of reminded me of a junior coach who is coaching young players. He pays alot of attention to the details. He pulls players to the side quite often and was giving a lot of instructions to Whitney, Eaton and Orpik on side explaining what he wanted them to do on the penalty kill. I have been very impressed with the way he conducts practices thus far.
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero was at the facility watching practice. He was on his blackberry the majority of the time.
Sidney Crosby on Alexander Ovechkin following practice
“Probably been four years, we‚Äôve always had some good battles, don‚Äôt know for some reason that he is starting to run around and go after Geno. That makes things much more intense. Only talking I did was when he was running me a couple times. He taunts and does those things and I don‚Äôt think that‚Äôs the way to play. It‚Äôs not quite as bad as it was before when it comes to Geno which is good but you don‚Äô t need someone chasing players around the ice”.
Crosby also mentioned Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla and how they‚Äôre not taking 10 strides and trying to take people‚Äôs heads off.