Penguins Notebook: Therrien sticks up for enforcer Godard

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The Penguins signed enforcer Eric Godard this summer to stick up for their skilled players, and coach Michel Therrien believes that referees Don Koharski and Dan O'Halloran improperly penalized him for filling his role last weekend.

Godard picked up a hooking minor in the Penguins' 4-3 overtime victory against Ottawa in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, then got a double-minor for roughing after a run-in with Senators tough guy Chris Neil in a 3-1 loss the next day.

"I saw the replays on those two penalties," Therrien said yesterday. "He got treated unfair. That's the truth. You look at the first game, he got treated unfair. The second game, it was even worse. There were three guys around him. What are you going to do?"

Sykora still out

  • Game: Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils.
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • TV: FSN Pittsburgh.

Right winger Petr Sykora, who missed the season-opening games in Sweden because of a groin injury, apparently will sit out at least one more.

Therrien said Sykora, who did not practice yesterday, is not expected to play when New Jersey visits Mellon Arena Saturday.

Sykora had been penciled in to start the season on the No. 2 line with Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

Beech days over

Center Kris Beech's second stint with the Penguins looks to be all but officially over.

Beech, who has refused to report to the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre since being assigned there Sept. 23, has been placed on unconditional waivers.

If he goes unclaimed and does not report to the Baby Penguins within two weeks, the Penguins will exercise their option to terminate the one-year contract he signed this summer.

Beech has been seeking a job in Europe since the Penguins demoted him. He was obtained from Washington in the Jaromir Jagr trade in 2001 and re-acquired on waivers last season.

Roster moves

The Penguins pared their active major league roster to 22 by putting center Jeff Taffe on waivers. If no other club claims him by noon today, Taffe will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre.

Taffe played in the season-opener Saturday, but was a healthy scratch the next day.

He had five goals and seven assists in 45 games with the Penguins last season, along with 11 goals and 10 assists in 27 games with the Baby Penguins.

The Penguins, who also sent forward Janne Pesonen and goalie John Curry to the Baby Penguins, apparently have no immediate plans to bring their roster back up to the league maximum of 23.

A banner season

The Penguins, who won the regular-season championship of the Atlantic Division and the playoff title in the Eastern Conference earlier this year, will not conduct a banner-raising ceremony in conjunction with the New Jersey game, but a banner recognizing those accomplishments is expected to be in place that evening.

The Penguins also plan to standardize the appearance of the banners they earned in previous years and might add one saluting the NHL scoring championships won by Jagr, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.

Slap shots

Therrien's assessment of the power play, which went 1 for 14 last weekend: "We're trying to be too perfect, too cute. We need to be more aggressive, more assertive with the puck. Make better decisions, and we need to shoot the puck, have traffic [around the net]." ... Winger Matt Cooke was chosen as the Penguins' player representative at a post-practice meeting. ... Winger Paul Bissonnette, who has switched his sweater number from 67 to 16, is the 33rd player to reach the NHL after playing for Wheeling in the ECHL.Home opener


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