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Insider Only Off-Day Buzz: Penguins prepare for Flyers, continued use of playing five ‘D’

By playing David Perron Sunday night and officially dressing 18 skaters, the Penguins won’t be able to use the salary cap loophole of calling up a defenseman for an emergency callup tomorrow night vs the Philadelphia Flyers.
Gary Agnew who was the Penguins acting coach today as Mike Johnston was back in Canada for the funeral of his mother, said today he’s “not really” been involved with a situation like the Penguins are in right now with using five defensemen.
It’s certainly a dangerous game the Penguins are playing in the matter of taxing players just before the playoffs not built to play 25+ minutes but everyone involved is putting the best spin on it as possible.
“Kind of new other than the fact we had to do it a few days ago,” Agnew said of working with five defensemen. “The guys are handling it really well and they’re making the right changes and getting off early. Just try to manage their minutes the best we can. Still trying to get the proper matchups when we can and using the timeouts as much as we can to our benefit to get the guys rested,” Agnew said
“Little different for me,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “Little adversity we’ll get through and continue to move forward.”
One thing that has to continue for the Penguins that happened from the third period against Arizona and on Sunday vs Sharks is backpressure and a commitment to their own end from the forwards.
“The forwards have done a great job as well, making sure they’re coming back and not letting our defensemen get into too much trouble,” Agnew said.
A lack of back pressure saw the Penguins gap control from the “D” being a mess vs Carolina on Thursday night. Was much improved over the weekend.
“This time of the year it’s about us,” Agnew said. “We have to make sure we have our game fine tuned. Tomorrow night is another fine tunef game. Make sure the systems we have in place are all where they need to be. Certainly, good starts always help us and that’s first and foremost.”
Penguin players are expecting a typical Flyers game tomorrow night. A key area to watch will be whether the Flyers get the Penguins into bad habits as always.
“I expect the same type of game we always see, pretty intense,” Sidney Crosby. “Both teams are always motivated in those games.”
Paul Martin today cited teams that aren’t in the playoffs are typically more susceptible to playing “run and gun” hockey than playoff teams.
“He’s progressing in the right direction,” Agnew said. “Certainly watching guys like Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi play, learning from those guys, he’s fitting in real nicely. Way he jumps in the play, gets us out of trouble quickly. Still a few areas he obviously needs to get better at but [that’s] coming with experience.”

Evgeni Malkin was given a day off after returning to the lineup over the weekend. “Just a maintenance day,” Agnew said.
There was some chatter today that Christian Ehrhoff could do some skating on Thursday. Agnew said things

“Nothing. Sort of business as usual, status quo.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

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

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