Penguins Notebook: Martin battled an injury late in playoffs


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The Penguins had what coach Dan Bylsma termed "bumps and bruises" during the playoffs, but only one defenseman was really toughing things out.

"Paul Martin was playing with a significant injury in the last few games," Bylsma said Sunday.

Neither Bylsma nor Martin revealed the nature of the injury, but both indicated that, as of now, it doesn't appear he will need surgery.

"Just met with the doctors [and] still have some other stuff to do," said Martin, one of the Penguins' steadiest players in the Eastern Conference final, a four-game loss to Boston.

"As of right now, I'm good."

Bylsma said the players with minor problems had "nothing that would have kept them out of a regular-season game even," and that none appear to need any offseason procedures.

There was a scare Friday in Game 4 at Boston when Bruins winger Daniel Paille blindsided Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who fell to the ice with a whiplash motion.

"I'm good," said Crosby, who has a concussion history. "I didn't expect that one. Glad that there are no effects from that."

Crosby does have an appointment today, though. He is getting his bottom teeth replaced after they were knocked out -- and his jaw broken -- by a deflected puck March 30.

"They'll be temporary," Crosby said. "It's not like a one-shot deal. It will be a few appointments."

Crosby said it's his understanding he will need to have a metal plate in his jaw removed, but he has not been given a timetable and does not expect his offseason workouts to be affected.

No Shero-Bylsma talks yet

General manager Ray Shero had a schedule conflict and did not speak with reporters. He will give his annual postseason wrap-up news conference Wednesday. One of the topics surely will be Bylsma's future.

"At this point in time, I haven't had conversations with [Shero] about that, coaching this team next year," Bylsma said.

His players absolved him of blame for not reaching the final or winning the title.

"We were right there," Crosby said. "We had chances. As players, we need to execute. There's only so much he can do. He doesn't go out there and play. You're responsible for not finding a way to win. That's our responsibility."

Still searching for answers

By Sunday, the Penguins had gotten no closer to putting their fingers on what exactly went wrong in the Eastern Conference final than they were Friday after Game 4 in Boston.

"For the most part, it's kind of tough to figure out. You want to find answers as to why you didn't score goals or why you didn't pick up one win," Martin said. "It's obviously disappointing and frustrating. You've got to give [Boston] some credit, but for the group that we have, I don't think it's what we would expect. It's obviously not acceptable for our standards."

Winger Brenden Morrow said it has been tough falling so short of expectations.

"It's almost a little bit embarrassing being out and about," said Morrow. "The expectations we had on ourselves, and to not be there, it's tough. It's not an easy time of the year but still want to get with your teammates. Some guys you may never see again. This week is bittersweet."

The biggest question was what happened to an offense that averaged more than four goals a game through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

"You just think of how well the power play was going and times we could change momentum by just going out and having a shift," winger Chris Kunitz said. "Every single line could go out and score.

"For that not to keep happening was, is, still mind-boggling. I don't know what specifically caused it."

The loss seemed to hit the Penguins like a whirlwind.

"It was six days," center Joe Vitale said. "You're starting a series, and six days later it's -- whew -- a shocker how fast it all happened."

Bylsma, who would have been coaching Game 5 Sunday night at Consol Energy Center if his team were still alive, was still digesting it all.

"Disbelief we're not playing hockey right now," he said. "It's definitely that shock and disbelief, and a little bit surreal, that we got eliminated, we got beat in four straight and didn't get a win against the Bruins. Haven't had time to really put my arms around it and get a reaction or a lesson learned from myself."

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For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com and Twitter @jennmenendez. First Published June 10, 2013 4:00 AM


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