Monday, 21 January 2013 15:31
Shelly Anderson: Good afternoon. We're about to get started. Just wanted to thank everyone for joining us after such a long break, thanks to the lockout. There are already some questions lined up, and there are some things to consider given the strong two-game road trip the Penguins had to open the season. Here we go....
mike: Shelly, the defense was exceptionally sound over the weekend, a Kunitz skate was all that kept Saturday from being a shut out, and the rangers only got one even strength goal....did the coaches come in with a different plan/system in their own end? or do the pieces just fit together better?
Shelly Anderson: Quite a bit different from what we saw in the playoffs against Philadelphia, wasn't it? The Penguins were particularly strong defensively in the second period at Philly. That's probably more of an accurate representation of their play than what we saw in the playoffs.
fan: What are your predictions for the Stanley Cup?
Shelly Anderson: I don't usually do those. Too many variables. I will say that the Penguins seem as sound as anyone -- but they did last season, too.
mike: tangradi has seemingly made himself at home in front of the net...he also got a few good chances last night....will this sort of effort be enough to keep him the top 6?
Shelly Anderson: Hard to say without knowing exactly what the club's expectations are for him. Eric Tangradi certainly has improved and, just as important, seems more comfortable in NHL games. His skating has gotten better but might not be quite good enough to hang with Evgeni Malkin's line. Malkin and Neal are two highly elite players. The Penguins might have to be patient and let someone like Tangradi grow into a role with them.
mike: does the goligoski trade look better on a daily basis, or is it just me?
Shelly Anderson: Certainly looks good for the Penguins, getting James Neal and Matt Niskanen in return. Dallas seems to be pretty happy with Alex Goligoski, too, but since it was a two-for-one and seeing the production of Neal, I'd say Penguins general manager Ray Shero struck gold.
mike: any reason not to play vokoun 18-22 games this year? no sense in having the league's top goalie tandem if they don't keep MAF as fresh as possible for the spring...
Shelly Anderson: That seems to be coach Dan Bylsma's plan, and, no, there doesn't seem to be any reason at this point not to go that route. Bylsma said today that he doesn't have a schedule for Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun mapped out. That's a departure from previous seasons, probably because of the shortened, condensed schedule.
mike: bylsma have plans to rotate lovejoy and bortuzzo in there?
Shelly Anderson: Have to say I haven't asked and haven't heard anyone else ask. Right now, the club is winning and former No. 1 draft pick Simon Despres is playing. It might take an injury or a rough patch by another defenseman for Ben Lovejoy and/or Robert Bortuzzo to get into the lineup.
mike: given his (martin's) contract and the cash needed to retain letang this summer, combined with martin's early strong play, what do you think is most feasible? martin continues his play and is traded as his value has increased, martin is bought out, or they try to find the cash by letting somebody like kennedy and cooke walk? seems to me if his play stays near where it is now, martin would be a vital cog and hard to trade when the goal is to win now
Shelly Anderson: And to think up until maybe three or four days ago Paul Martin's name was like a bad word around Penguins nation. He played well over the weekend, more like the defenseman he has been expected to be. But you're right -- if he bounces back from an off year and is consistent about it, it could sway GM Ray Shero in terms of what he does at the trade deadline or over the summer. It's too early to guess which path Shero will choose.
mike-in-Erie: Shelly, Martin looks alot more comfortable thus far
Shelly Anderson: Same general topic as the last question. Yes, he does. Fans should remember, he was a good, respected player before stumbling a bit last season. It seems as if Martin himself is remembering that.
mike: iginla and gonchar are both going to be UFA's in the offseason. would they give up a talented youngster like poliout to get somebody like iginla? what would it take to get gonchar, something like bortuzzo and a 4th or 5th? this of course assumes that calgary and ottawa tank out of the gate
Shelly Anderson: Those two names have been circulating, defenseman Sergei Gonchar recently and veteran forward Jarome Iginla for a couple of years. I just don't see the Penguins taking either one on as a rent-a-player at or near the trade deadline, which comes up quickly in this shortened season, April 3 I believe. If they couldn't afford to re-sign Gonchar before, they probably can't afford him now. And as well as Iginla and Sidney Crosby played together at the 2010 Olympics, I'm not sure the Penguins would give up a lot at this stage of Iginla's career.
mike: first Dman up from WBS is brian doumlin? or joe morrow?
Shelly Anderson: Well, that's going to take a lot. The Penguins are carrying eight defensemen on their NHL roster, so Ben Lovejoy and Robert Bortuzzo get first crack if there is an injury or a lapse in play. Beyond that, probably Brian Dumoulin. He's older and more experienced, and the Penguins really like him. He came over in the Jordan Staal trade. That's not to say that Joe Morrow isn't a future star, but he could probably use a little more time to develop.
Pablo: Any thoughts on the obviously pre-arranged Asham-Glass fight last night? Any chance of supplemental discipline? Also, how does that get set up? Does Glass say to Bylsma, "Aaron and I were talking and we'd like to start the game and drop the gloves"?
Shelly Anderson: Well, it seems obvious to us observers. We found out today, though, that Tanner Glass somehow missed coach Dan Bylsma's announcement that he was starting. When it came time for the national anthem, Bylsma was surprised to see Glass on the bench and had to tell him he was starting and to get out on the ice. So Glass apparently wasn't in on it in terms of a fight happening on the opening faceoff until he got out there. I don't see any supplemental discipline coming.
mike-in-Erie: don't expect an answer here, but how does Jeffery ever get a hat before Vitale
Shelly Anderson: The Penguins have liked Dustin Jeffrey for several years. He's versatile and brings more skill than Joe Vitale, although Vitale is a great fourth-liner with speed, energy and defensive responsibility. Jeffrey was an odd man out for a long time last season after a knee injury, and the Penguins probably wanted to show him some loyalty by getting him into the lineup in the opener, leaving Vitale to sit. Vitale responded with a strong performance in Game 2. At this point, don't know how that will play out. They alternated at center on that line in practice today.
Clint: The Pens have all been solid on their faceoffs the first 2 games. Has Geno talked about improving his faceoff game this offseason?
Shelly Anderson: Not that I've heard. He might well have done that in Russian at some point. That's been the lone weak point of Evgeni Malkin's game. If he, like Sidney Crosby before him, can get stronger there on a consistent basis, it will make the Penguins even more formidable.
Mary: Glad to have you back and healthy, Shelly!
Shelly Anderson: Thanks. Just in time for hockey to return!
mike: jeff jimmerson singing the anthem on wednesday?
Shelly Anderson: Haven't seen that info yet.
mike: did any of the NY media share anthing with you about where the ranger's players played (or didn't) during the lockout, it certainly didn't look like they were in great shape, or all that familiar with each other
Shelly Anderson: Wasn't in New York or Philly. Will start doing some traveling soon. The Rangers do have some new faces, and with a short camp that's to their disadvantage early this season.
mike: 60 points is enough to secure the #1 seed and (for the individual) the ross.....true or false
Shelly Anderson: Can't answer that in true-or-false fashion. It calls for an opinion. Over 48 games, 60 points would be a pretty strong pace either for a team or an individual, though.
Shelly Anderson: Thanks, everyone. Got to most of the questions. Please join us again next week -- assuming travel home from Ottawa goes well -- and we'll pick up where we left off.
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