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Insider Only Exit Meetings Buzz: Malkin wants to play center again, more tidbits

Friday’s Walkout Meetings Buzz: | Crosby admits to setback; Team confident in full recovery; Malkin to wants to return to center; Does Bylsma agree?; Cooke will be back; Bylsma has high praise for Nick Johnson; Bylsma not opposed to power play coach; Jeffrey, Letestu to battle for final center spot next season? |
— The big story of the day was Sidney Crosby admitting that he had a setback about 10 days ago. Crosby says it occurred when he tried skating at 100 percent full speed. Crosby says he will be back next year and is hopeful he will be the same player again.
GM Ray Shero insists Crosby has made “significant” progress. Shero maintains the team did everything it could have done after the Winter Classic to properly treat Crosby.
— A good discussion during the off-season will be what are the plans for Evgeni Malkin. Center or wing?.
Malkin indicated today that he probably would have returned in the conference finals, stated today that he wants to go back to center next season. Head coach Dan Bylsma didn’t refute that but…

he also said he wants to see Staal center a line with Malkin on his wing again, claiming he liked how Tampa floated stars Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier between multiple lines with each other in various spots.
— Malkin will be skating here for a few more weeks with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before going back home to Moscow to continue his rehab..
— Kris Letang and Marc Andre Fleury both turned downed an opportunity to play for Canada in the world championships.
— Zbynek Michalek will play for Czech Republic in World Championships.
— Sources indicate Jordan Staal did not receive an invite. (they must have watched him play in the playoffs).
— Dan Bylsma said he wouldn’t be opposed to the notion of a power play coach on the staff.
— Regarding the younger players on the team, Bylsma made it sound like Dustin Jeffery and Mark Letestu may be battling for one center spot. He also said Nick Johnson “is really starting to look like an NHL player” now that he is getting healthy from his concussion
— Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot both expressed a desire to stay in Pittsburgh but there has been no talks at this point and none are imminent.
— Shero praised the five most high profile unrestricted free agents (Talbot, Rupp, Dupuis, Adams, Asham)
— Shero: “Every indication is that Matt Cooke will be back with the team next year.”. Cooke said it hurt him to watch the Penguins lose in the first round.
— Shero didn’t give any clues as to how his final defense pairing would be made up going into traning camp between the likes of Ben Lovejoy, Dereyk Engelland and Matt Niskanen. But he made it sound like the goal for Simon Despres is to start the year in Wilkes-Barre for 2011-2012.
The expectation is to get Simon Despres top pairing minutes in WBS.
— Tyler Kennedy refused to comment on his restricted free agency status.
— Dan Bylsma is a finalist for the coach of the year (Jack Adams) award.

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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