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Bylsma on Caps: ‘There are times you don’t have to get up for the game.’


Sorry, dear readers, but there isn’t a lot to report from the Penguins’ practice Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins, who are in the midst of a brutal schedule stretch (eight games over the opening 13 games of the season), moved today’s practice to noon and made it an optional affair.

Coach Dan Bylsma said he told some players not to practice and others took the option of not skating. Those who were on the ice:

Ds Ben Lovejoy, Matt Niskanen and Deryk Engelland; Cs Sidney Crosby, Joe Vitale, Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey; RWs James Neal, Craig Adams, Tyler Kennedy and Arron Asham; LW Steve MacIntyre; G Brent Johnson.

Bylsma said he had not updates about possible a possible Thursday lineup.


= Crosby again wore a white helmet to signify non-contact participation, but he and Jeffrey engaged in one-one-one battle drills.

“Well, he’s done a couple (of) puck-protection drills the last week… so he’s been doing that a little bit, kind of feeling the person on his back,” Bylsma said.


= Had a chance to speak with Neal at length about his impressive start to the season, and the conversation ended with an early candidate for Quote of the Month. Our discussion turned to his penchant for quick shots from so-called bad angles and willingness to work toward the net for those crease-crashing attempts. I informed Neal of a discussion I had with Bylsma, who said this summer he had watched video of every goal Neal had scored in the NHL and offered as a compliment that those goals “usually weren’t pretty.”

Neal, a 20-goal guy in each of his three seasons, laughed upon receiving that message.

“Well, if you want to move past 20 you have to get the garbage goals,” he said.


= Like I said, not a real lot to report. The weekly “Pens Push” page returns in Thursday’s Trib, with a look at how D Kris Letang is prepping to play heaving minutes, and what Kennedy is looking for when he’s shooting.

Oh, almost forgot, the Penguins welcome the Capitals to Pittsburgh on Thursday. No big deal, right?

“There are times where you don’t have to get up for the game, whether you’re feeling great or not feeling great, whether you’re coming off the road, whatever scenario you want to dream up,” Bylsma said. “When you have the Capitals comes into your building and you’re going to Philadelphia you’re acutely aware of the situation, you’re acutely aware of the team you’re playing, the players you’re playing, and the rivalry that’s there. We all looked at the scheduled. We all saw Vancouver on that first trip, and you’re coming home and, ‘Oh, there’s the Capitals.’”





Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.


  1. SA-Town says:

    Any remember the last time the Pens beat the Caps in regulation?

  2. SA-Town says:

    It was March 9th 2008. That was the last time the Penguins beat the Caps in Regulation. 4-2.

    I would say they are due.

  3. tomas says:

    Some of this stuff said by Bylsma is one of the many reasons I don’t like Bylsma as a coach. I would say he has his team give way too much respect for a loser franchise like the Capitals. The only question is during the next Capitals encounter will Disco Dan tell us how Mike “Wayne Gretzky” Knuble is just unstoppable!!!

  4. sjb says:

    Well, well, well…another home loss to the Craps and Knuble scores (actually it went in off Engelland’s skate but why quibble over details). Who would have guessed? That’s almost as predictable as the Pens giving every 1st round pick from the opposing team their first NHL goal, or any opposing player their first NHL goal for that matter.

    This is the last time I’m watching one of these games when it’s obviously in stone who the winner will be. I’d rather be surprised by the headline in the morning if ever they can win, which they never will. The Pens would still find a way to lose even if the Capitals never showed up. Pathetic. They might as well have brought Crosby back last night so he could be knocked out for the season again just to make the evening more obnoxious.

    Is it too late to save the Civic Arena?…you know, that place where the Pens actually had home-ice advantage. Thanks everyone involved for making the Consol such a great place for other teams. It’s like Club Med for visiting teams. They just love it!

  5. Charlie says:

    Woof! …That is one solid hit to the Jay Beagle jaw; make that two solid hits to the jaw by Arron Asham

  6. HP says:

    Anybody know what is meant in the first paragraph stated: (eight games over the opening 13 games of the season), ?
    I assume he meant 8 games in 13 days to open the season, eh?

  7. Carol says:

    Where’s our dynasty?!

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