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Insider Only Post-Morning Skate: Michalek says the key is to take the”middle of the ice away” from Gaborik

Post-Morning Skate Notes
*– Tyler Kennedy will miss tonight’s game due to the flu.
*– A challenge for the Penguins tonight is shutting down Marian Gaborik whose presence in the lineup changes the whole dynamic for the Rangers team.
“Flat out speed, head coach Dan Bylsma in his post-morning skate comments said when describing Marian Gaborik’s game. “You rarely see a game where you don’t see his speed be a real a factor and his skill and hands around the…. When he gets that opportunity… it’s elite.
“We gotta be aware of that speed, we gotta take it away, we gotta limit his time and space, whether that’s with good checking or physical play, because we saw him do that against us last year.
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek figures to get the matchup against Gaborik and Michalek told me the focus for him and the team is taking the middle of the ice away from Gaborik.
“He really fast, you know, “Michalek said. “He’s looking for his chances in around the blueline or redline, looking for breakaways.”

“You could see last night, he had two breakaway goals, ” Michalek said. “So, he’s a really dangerous guy and we have to be careful. The key is don’t give him any time and space, and take middle of the ice away and keep him on the outside.”
*– Dan Bylsma was asked this morning about the Penguins success on the penalty kill without Jordan Staal. Bylsma said players are stepping up in the face-off circle on the PK which has dictated their success. He pointed out Craig Adams and Max Talbot for elevating their play in the face-off circle.
*– Forward Mark Letestu told me this morning that he fells the the team has has rediscovered their game over the course of the past five games.
“I think the last five games, minus the Boston third period but for the most part, the last five games we’ve been getting to our game.
Letestu also touched base on Chris Conner’s presence on his line. “Truck load speed, “Letestu said. “He’s always someone whose creating offense with his speed and backing defenseman off. He’s tenacious down low and opening things up for his linemates.”

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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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