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Pens Push: Bylsma on Boudreau, Crosby on Murray and Letang’s ‘messed up’ nose.

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Some quick hits from the Penguins’ practice at Southpointe Iceoplex on Monday:

= There wasn’t a huge buzz inside the dressing room regarding the coaching changes with Washington and Carolina, and I will touch on how those moves might impact the Penguins in Tribune-Review notebook on Tuesday. However, HC Dan Bylsma had this to say on the topic of rival Bruce Boudreau losing his gig with the Capitals:

“I read it this morning, and you never feel good about seeing a coach in that position – regardless of who they are and what time they are coaching for,” Bylsma said. “I do think it’s certainly going to add a spark to our game coming up with a new coach coming up and us being an opponent so close to Bruce being fired.”

The Penguins play at the New York Rangers on Tuesday. They are at Washington on Thursday and at Carolina on Saturday.

A history lesson for those who may have let this slip their minds: The Penguins were five points out of a playoff spot when Bylsma replaced former HC Michel Therrien on Feb. 14, 2009. The went 18-3-4 over their final 25 games to earn a fourth seed in the East en route to the Stanley Cup.

The point is changes can do wonders for a team, and there does seem to be a similar recipe with the Capitals, who deploy a skilled group seemingly looking for a new voice at the top. The pressure is now firmly on Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin, also the team captain, to get his club moving in the right direction with Dale Hunter, who like Bylsma upon his hiring had no NHL head coaching experience, at the helm. Keep this in mind: C Sidney Crosby, the Penguins captain, finished 2008-09 with 33 goals and 103 points – the latter the third most in the NHL. He scored 10 goals and recorded 31 points after Bylsma replaced Therrien.

Crosby had this to say about in-season coaching changes after the Penguins’ practice:

“I guess every situation is different, but that’s the way we felt – at the end of the day we’re the ones out there playing and we need to win,” Crosby said. “Whether it takes (a change) to realize that, sometimes that’s the case, sometimes guys respond to that. Usually at that point the changes happens and everyone tries to respond.”

= Crosby on the puzzling comments made Sunday by Ottawa GM Bryan Murray:

“I heard about it,” Crosby said. “I think it’s getting blown way out of proportion. It’s ridiculous. It’s a play that happens in every game. I guess the fact that it’s me it gets dissected and analyzed 100 times more, but I really think they’re making something out of nothing. If they really want to keep beating it around they can, but I don’t have really anything else to say about it. I think it’s ridiculous we’re still talking about it three days later to be honest.”

As for Murray delivering a verbal shot – an unsolicited one at that – at Crosby, well, that did not catch Crosby by surprise, either.

“He’s been doing that since my first year,” Crosby said. “That’s nothing new.”

This is one of those spots where the beat reporter can wisely choose to let the captain of the team he covers have the final say, and so I will on this topic. After all, it would be hard to write it any better than Crosby said it today.

Crosby was named the NHL’s No. 1 star for last week, by the way. The duh! distinction of this young NHL season.

= D Kris Letang joined practice late and acknowledged his broken nose is sore and that breathing remains difficult, but there was no indication that he would not play Tuesday night at New York. Letang said he has yet to take the ImPACT baseline concussion test, but that he will need to pass it before gaining clearance from team physician Dr. Charles Burke to play against the Rangers.

Letang said he had no idea what to expect from the NHL, whose discipline czar Brendan Shanahan was scheduled to hold a phone hearing with Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty this morning. Pacioretty caught Letang with a blindside shoulder to the face late in the third period on Saturday at Montreal.

“Knowing the style he plays I don’t think he’s a guy looking to injury guys on the ice,” Letang said. “If (Pacioretty’s apology) was sincere I don’t know, but I think it was a great gesture by him to come over. Is it enough? I don’t know.”

Letang described his nose as “all messed up.” He said he met with a nose specialist and a concussion expert before practice today.

= G Marc-Andre Fleury celebrated his 27th birthday, and teammates rewarded him by firing pucks at him from center red late in practice.

“That was a first,” Fleury said. “A puck for every year.”

Not quite, actually. Still, point taken – no slacking on the big day, Mr. Goalie Man.

Fleury said his birthday haul was a chocolate cake baked by his fiancée, some video games (notably “Batman: Arkham City” from his mom, and a scarf.

Guess which one this reporter inquired about.*

*Inside joke for the local audience.

 

Cheers,

Rossi

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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.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    What a shocker, you let Sid have the last word. You lost the title, “beat reporter” long ago. More like “Crosby cheerleader.” Don’t let anything close to objective reporting get in the way. The Pens’ position is apparently we’re totally against head shots; unless we do it, then it’s justified. The over/under on Matt Cook ruining another career is 40 games. Hypocrites wear black and gold.

  2. JayGeyer says:

    Calm down there, Paul. Calling that a head shot is like calling a pushing match a riot. And with how that guy was rolling over Flower, he deserved a lot worse than that. Plus, don’t forget, Sid just gave him a couple whacks with the stick for that, it wasn’t until he threw a punch into Sid’s neck that the elbow flew.

    As for Cooke, he’s been a changed man so far this year. You may be right, but it says a lot about you that you have no faith in your fellow man to change his ways. Wait until it happens before you go cry about it. If it does, you can come on here and be as self-important as you want to be.

    Winners wear Black and Gold.

  3. Keith (ONT) says:

    PAUL…What are you reading this for? Rossi’s got a way better job then you I’m sure. Rossi openly addmitts he’s not the best at his job, But he try’s hard and sure dose Pittsburgh and the Pen’s. In his dorky way (no offence Rossi) I think the guy dose a great job and I love the Pens, That’s why I can’t wait for 12pm est time to read about the Pen’s. I’ve been that way since the great Lemieux days (news paper befor internet) with that said Paul, Go hate elsewhere bud…save your typing skills for someone who cares. Everyone that reads this will agree with me.

    Keep up the good work Rossi…you have the best job ever!!!!

  4. drewww says:

    @Paul

    There’s literally nothing else to say about the play. It happens numerous times in every single game, they both just lost their cool for a play. Being objective has nothing to do about because it is so insignificant. Rossi is one hell of a beat reporter and I am happy he is doing it for Pittsburgh. The fact that you have to bring Matt Cooke up, who has played fair and extreme well this season, shows that anything you really have nothing to say about the topic.

  5. sjb says:

    I don’t think Paul (or Bryan Murray) really has a clue. Just a bitter “other teams” fan actually and if he doesn’t see there’s a big difference in what happened in Crosby’s situation against the Sens and what the league is trying to do against head shots then he’s nothing more than a typical Crosby/Pens hater who doesn’t even watch the team play.

    As far as Cooke goes, I (like probably many Pens fans) wanted him thrown off the team after the last incident and was disappointed when he wasn’t, but he’s here and he seems to understand that his career (at least in Pittsburgh) hinges on playing smarter hockey and so far he gets it.

    What’s the over/under on Paul saying something anti-Pittsburgh sports here again? I’d say 4 hours. Hey Paul, what colors do you wear? Obviously not black and gold, since that’d make you a hypocrite, right?

  6. Paul says:

    Typical. Nobody has a clue but you. Sidney Crosby and the Pens can do no wrong, and none of you can even acknowledge that might be a possibility. An intentional elbow to the head is an intentional elbow to the head. Enjoy.

  7. dwf says:

    Paul is not saying anything anti-Pittsburgh. He is stating what actually happened in the hockey game. A blind man could have seen the elbow that Sid threw! And he makes a valid point, you can’t on one hand say outlaw head shots and then start throwing them when you get upset during a game.

    On Paul’s other point, it is a well known fact that Rossi is the biggest HOMER ever to write for a Pittsburgh paper. And that is not meant as a compliment Rossi! I believe Rossi is afraid to say anything even remotely negative about anything Pittsburgh. I’ve said this before, but Rossi, you could learn a lot from DK.

  8. Ryan says:

    Murray’s comments about “releasing the goons” next time the Pens & Sens meet is quite disturbing. Elbowing in a scrum in front of the crease is not identical to a blindside, east-west shoulder to a player’s nose. I guess, according to some, a face wash is also an illegal head shot.

    Just an observation from the Montreal game: has any other NHL viewer noticed P.K. Subban’s penchant for skate stomping? This time Neal was the target of said dangerous play.

  9. djw says:

    Obviously there is a lot of work to be done by Shanahan and the league, regarding head shots. Unfortunately, every incident is slightly different, as in Pens vs Habs. It was an obvious penalty, even though one was not called on the ice. The ensuing power play could have been a game changer. Why is Toronto not involved with a penalty call? They are there for a reason or are they only capable of seeing if the puck crossed the goal line! Something as blatant as Pacioretty’s penalty should have been called by these so-called experts in Toronto. Secondly, the Pens do not in any way benefit from the suspension, other teams do. This should be addressed. Lastly, I personally would like to see an additional rule strictly for the playoffs; Penalty carry-over. This would keep teams from “Sending a message” at the end of the game. Just a thought.

  10. sabu says says:

    Let Mushmouth Murray unleash his goons. Last time I checked, we have a nuclear deterrent named Steve MacIntyre. Im sure he’s already made note of this.

    Murray is another long term jealous loser who will never win anything. same thing for son of golfball head Foligno..who would die to be a pen.

    The jealousy just never ends

  11. sabu says says:

    If there is one guy in the league that REALLY needs his @ss beat…its PK Subpar. His slew footing techniques are going to really catch up to him someday

  12. sjb says:

    @ Paul and dwf

    When’s the last time throwing an elbow, or even a fist in a scrum or fight resulted in a concussion? Unless that player got knocked out and hit his head on the ice that is. I’m not saying what Sid did was right but it’s simply not the same thing and in the moment it happened can be justified easier than lining someone up from 30 feet away with the obvious intention to injure. A rough was all that should have been called in Sid’s case and if the NHL saw this as a problem I’m sure they would have addressed it further even if no penalty was called.

    Oh and Dejan’s a blind homer as well and it took him years to finally get up the backbone to criticize the Pirates ownership. When he was doing the Pens beat for the PG, you couldn’t say anything negative about that team without him getting bent. That said, I’d rather hear unabashed blind favoritism from a local sports reporter than a loudmouth like Mark Madden who spews BS just for the attention.

  13. Jim Forney says:

    If Rossi can’t cover the beat fairly and accurately, then it’s time for him to get off the gravy train. He’s waaaaay to close to the players and management.

  14. dwf says:

    @sjb

    Typical, if the situation had been reversed and someone threw an elbow at Sid’s head it would have been an outrage! I’m sure sjb would be crying that the player should be suspended FOREVER!!!! Hate to say it, but, an elbow is an elbow, is an elbow.

    If biased, unabashed blind favoritism is what you want to read, then you are definitely in the right place. Me, I would rather have the whole story and all the facts not just feel good touchy feely niceties. Have to disagree with the DK comment. He writes without fear and doesn’t care if he steps on any toes or hurts anybody’s feelings. Once again, Rossi should be taking notes.

 
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