by John Toperzer
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Our lineup will be gametime. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net.
Playing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, for me anyways. We know they’re the Ducks.
Their special teams hasn’t been significantly good this year.
They’re top line is a huge part of their team, 23 points from Getzlaf and Perry. They have to be one of the fastest teams in the league, with how they play. We are expecting that from them.
On Penguin callups: Brian Gibbons has just flat out been the best player for Wilkes-Barre through the first 15 games. Early on, through 10 games, he might’ve been the best player in the American Hockey League.
Just the speed with which he can play, the tenacity making that speed a factor. He’s been a factor on the penalty kill, a factor 5-on-5, he’s been saying for the first month and a half that he needs a chance in the National Hockey League and that’s why he’s been called up.
On Teemu Selanne: Teemu will be, for me, remembered as one of my finest teammates. Loved playing with Teemu. Part of that’s his speed and skill, part having played against him was how dynamic he was 5-on-5 and on the power play. The spirit with he plays the game was awesome. Still has that scoring ability, big wide stick, flick of the wrist to score goals.
More Brian Gibbons: Brian (Gibbons) is a guy who in his exhibition games, he hasn’t been able to put his best assets forward. He’s done that in spades in his 15 Wilkes Barre games this year, gotta bring your element don’t worry about position and that’s flat out speed. Talked to him about enjoying it as well.
On changing lines: We’ve had two lines here throughout the last couple years that have been, one has been the best lines in the game as different times. Sometimes a particular matchup and who you’re playing is another factor as well, playing the Ducks.
On 5-on-5 struggles: I think two areas we haven’t been our best is execution and finishing those plays. You have a 2-on-1 and go offsides, that’s lack of execution. We haven’t been hungry around the net. That’s in the offensive zone that’s going to the net. One area we’ve been good with our net-front presence on the power play. We haven’t been as good and being hungry to finish those plays. We’ve got to be better.
On overall status of Pens: We’re 20 games deep, we’ve drawn some conclusions on where we’re at. I’d say 10 of them we’ve had 20-plus scoring chances. We haven’t been able to cash in. We lost a game, 1-0, against Colorado where we gave them six scoring chances. We lost a game to Philadelphia where we gave them five chances and we had 21 of our own.
We’ve been good in defending, tough to play against. It’s allowed us to get 12 wins that we have. First three games of the year we won it with defense. Against Columbus, we allowed 15, 18 shots against and we come up with a 3-0 win.
I think we can comfortably say you’re not going to keep the execution down on Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby and James Neal and Chris Kunitz for the next 20 games.
*Listen to audio for exact interview words*
On line changes: We’ll wait and see. When a coach says that it’s to shake things up, hopefully get some momentum, some different looks.
We’ve been struggling to find some offensive time, that’s something coach felt could spice it up a little get some energy going, change some routine for some guys.
On playing with Beau Bennett: I think everybody knows he’s got that skill. He’s got a right-handed shot, it brings a little different element.
On playing with Malkin: They’re both so talented you have to read off them. Will need a little adjustment with Gino.
I feel like the games I came back are a whole lot better than before the injury. Kuni and Sid are better at English (than Malkin), other than that it’s pretty similar. Not much reaction to changing of lines. Everyone’s on board to get more wins.
I did not like the Ducks at all growing up, I liked the Kings.
I found out about the recall last night. I was playing center down there. Recently I’ve been playing with Chris Connor and Harry Zolniercyk. Last year in the playoffs I kind of figure it out more and that carried over this year.
They’re bringing you up here (to the NHL) for a reason. They like the way you’re playing, so you keep playing that way and let things happen.