Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Post-Practice Buzz: Circle calendars for Dec 16; On Letang status for NYR; Challenging stretch Ahead & Crosby tidbits

Post-Practice Buzz

The Ottawa Senators are still upset over Sidney Crosby’s elbow on Nick Foligno in Friday’s game.
Senators GM Bryan Murray has now joined into the discussion. In the middle of a media scrum on Sunday, Murray asked the media if anyone is going to ask him about Sidney Crosby.
” Well the rules are very clear now, ” Murray said (being sarcastic). That if you fall into a goaltender, you touch a goaltender , elbow to the head, butt-end to the head is fair {game}, it’s okay. Dan Bylsma said that’s okay for them, Sidney said Nick Foligno is that kind of player…. I thought the referees in that game, watching it, hearing the comments, it was 2-and-2. He got cross checked four times. He fell over the goaltender, there’s no question he fell over the goaltender… Did he get pushed, I don’t know that. He got crosschecked when he was on the ice, he got {what} I thought looked like a butt-end but probably a full time elbow. He punched back, Kunitz came in with cross check and the penalties were even. Shannahan said that’s a good play, that’s a hockey play, Dan Bylsma said it’s good for them. Pittsburgh was biggest ones for head injuries early on. I’m remissed.”
Murray added that his team didn’t have Neil and Carkner in the game and that they will have to have more toughness in the lineup next time they play Pittsburgh.
Crosby after today’s practice believes it’s astonishing that this is still news three days after.
“I heard about it, ” Crosby said. “I mean I think it’s getting blown way out of proportion. It’s ridiculous…. It’s a play that happens in every game and I guess the fact that it’s me, it’s dissected and analyzed a hundred times more. I really think they’re making something out of nothing. If they want to keep kind of beating it around, they can but I don’t have anything else to say about it. I think it’s ridiculous we’re still talking about it three days later to be honest with you.”
Circle Your Calandars: December 16, 2011 in Ottawa

Practice Tidbits

Challenges Ahead: The Penguins have a challenging five game stretch highlighted by Thursday night’s game in Washington. The Penguins will see the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes in back to back games on the road, two teams that will have new head coaches behind the bench.
The challenging stretch begins tomorrow night against an improved Rangers team (12-5-3, 27 pts) that is playing excellent hockey at home and is a team on the cusp of contender status. It is a big measuring stick for New York and head coach John Tortorella will have his team ready to play.
In addition to playing New York, Washington and Carolina in their next three games , Pittsburgh will play Boston and Philadelphia in consecutive games (Dec 5 vs Bos, Dec 8 @ PHI).
“We have a good challenge coming up going into Madison Square Garden and playing the Rangers, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “They’ve been playing very well…. It’s going to be a huge challenge for us and maybe something we haven’t seen in terms of a big time game. Then we come right back with a very good Capitals team… although their record hasn’t been what they’d like lately. But, they’re still a very talented team and a rival team. It’s going to be a big game again. So, some tests on the road that maybe we haven’t seen and some good challenges for our team.”
Sidney Crosby was given an assist on Jordan Staal’s third period goal vs the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Crosby now has 9 points in four games to open the season. He is on pace for 140 points, for anyone scoring at home.
For those into the Crosby Art Ross Trophy talk at this time, I still look at a points per game pace in the 1.6 range for Crosby this season. In his last 45 regular season games, dating back to the start of the 2010-2011 season, Crosby is averaging 1.66 points per game.
— Word as of early this afternoon, Penguins are optimistic about Kris Letang playing tomorrow night and expect him to play. He met with the doctor this morning and the biggest issue for Letang right now is with his breathing.
The team doesn’t believe he has any concussion symptoms. He was expected to take the Impact test following today’s practice that ended around 12:30. Letang took part in the latter part of today’s skate.
Letang on Max Pacioretty: “Knowing the style he plays I don’t think he’s a guy looking to injure guys on the ice.”…. Didn’t get the sense today from Letang that he’s going to be upset if Pacioretty is not suspended.

Crosby Named First Star

Sidney Crosby was named the NHL’s first star this week. Crosby who made his season debut against the NY Islanders on Nov. 21, tallied nine points (2G-7A) and a league-best plus-7 rating in four games last week to edge out a pair of goaltenders – Vancouver’s Cory Schneider and Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues.
Crosby began the week by registering his 21st career four-point game against the Islanders with two goals and two assists – including a goal on his second shift of the night. Crosby also had a game-high eight shots and won 14 of 21 faceoffs.
After being held scoreless against St. Louis on Nov. 23, Crosby finished the week with back-to-back multiple-point games against Ottawa and Montreal. Crosby picked up three assists on Friday against Ottawa and followed that up by recording a pair of helpers the next night in a 4-3 come-from-behind win against the Canadiens.
Crosby’s return helped the Penguins go 3-0-1 last week, propelling them to the top of the NHL’s overall standings with 32 points.

Team Canada Tryout

Pittsburgh’s top two picks from the 2011 NHL Draft – defensemen Joseph Morrow (1st round, 23rd overall) of the Portland Winterhawks and Scott Harrington (2nd round, 54th overall) of the London Knights – were among 41 players invited to Team Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp Dec. 10-14 in Calgary, Alberta.
The camp, which will be held at the WinSport Athletic & Ice Complex, will determine Canada’s roster for the 2012 World Junior Championship, which will be played in Edmonton and Calgary Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 5, 2012.
Morrow and Harrington, who both earned long looks with the Penguins during Pittsburgh’s training camp in September, have already signed three-year entry-level contracts with Pittsburgh that will begin once they turn professional.
Morrow, 18, has skated in 22 games this season for Portland of the Western Hockey League (WHL), tallying eight goals, 24 points and four power-play goals. Morrow appeared in four exhibition games with Pittsburgh during the 2011 preseason, tying for third on the team with four points (1G-3A).
Harrington, 18, has been a key contributor for London, which owns the best record in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Harrington leads all Knights blueliners with 13 points (2G-11A) in 22 games, while his plus-21 rating leads the OHL. Harrington posted a plus-2 rating in two exhibition games with Pittsburgh during the preseason.

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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