Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Post-Practice Notes: Kunitz filling leadership void left by Bill Guerin

Healthy for the first time in months, 1st line winger Chris Kunitz is quietly having a strong training camp and pre-season. In four pre-season games, Kunitz tallied 2 goals and 3 assists.
Coming off a two-point game on Sunday night, Kunitz told me today that he’s feeling good about his game and the direction of the team.
“It’s a work in progress, ” Kunitz said. “Obviously in the pre-season you try to build yourself up for the regular season but if you’re put in the right situations, our power play {against Detroit} was clicking pretty good so that was nice to be out there when that was happening and contribute to the offense.”
“It’s nice to get your systems down and get everybody going in right direction, ” Kunitz said.
The Penguins coaching staff values the intangibles Kunitz brings to the table which is why he’s became a fixture on Sidney Crosby’s line. Coming over from Anaheim in February 2009, Kunitz said he hasn’t changed his game despite playing with an elite talent of Crosby’s caliber.
“I don’t really change my game too much, ” Kunitz said. “Usually just trying to get on the fore check be physical, limit turnovers, use straight lines and try to get open and get to the net for a guy like Sidney.”
While Pittsburgh has high expectations for Kunitz with thoughts of a 25+ goal season, Kunitz drew high praise today from head coach Dan Bylsma regarding his ability of stepping up into a leadership role.
When asked today about players who have been surprises in camp, Bylsma mentioned Kunitz but not for his play on the ice.
“Chris Kunitz to me, leadership wise, on the bench in practice….It’s a surprise, he’s been very good, ” Bylsma said. “That’s been great.”

Roster Buzz

Dan Bylsma said today that the Penguins are anticipating their opening night roster which is why Dustin Jeffrey was sent down today. As expected waivers is playing a role in the Penguins decision making.
“We’re anticipating our opening night roster, ” Bylsma said. “We cut Dustin Jeffrey today….he wasn’t going to be on our opening night roster….waivers is not a issue, he was sent down to Wilkes Barre.”
Bylsma had high praise for Jeffrey, calling him one of the surprises of camp.
“Dustin Jeffrey would be one for sure, “Blysma said. “He’s a guy who we’ve had in the organization for a while and really stepped up his game, picked up some speed, had a really good summer, and showed in camp that way.”

Injury Report

Sidney Crosby and Brooks Orpik each practiced today. Crosby skated extremely well and looks ready to go for Thursday night.
Orpik, meanwhile was off the ice for almost a week due to a groin injury. He said that he doesn’t think the injury is related to his hernia surgery from the summer but had some interesting comments about the injury.
Orpik said last year there were some days he couldn’t even get off the couch. When asked about that in his media conference, Dan Bylsma appeared irritated by Orpik’s remarks.

“He was still playing hard, playing his game and there wasn’t a lot of complaining, ” Bylsma said. “He was practicing working out, still able to do that. There’s sometimes it’s hard for me to pull my self off the couch but I still come into work and don’t say anything to anybody.”
Winger Arron Asham remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. The extent of the injury is still unknown as Arron is being re-evaluated today.
“Arron is seeing our doctors in Pittsburgh today, ” Bylsma said. “He’s being re-evaluated. I know he wants to play against Philly.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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