Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is part of the planning sessions as they relate to free agency. He's touching base with returning players. He's looking forward to further developing some of the trap-busting ideas he had later last season for getting the puck through the neutral zone and to skilled players more effectively, a plan somewhat thwarted by injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Perhaps of most interest is the time Bylsma has invested revising blueprints for the power play.
The Penguins ranked 25th in the regular season with a 15.8 percent success rate and were 1 for 35 against Tampa Bay in the playoffs.
To counter what Bylsma termed a "stationary and predictable" power play, he hopes to use four forwards with a center point man a lot of the time, although Malkin could see some time on the point, and fellow forward Sidney Crosby could shift back to that spot, too, as the team tweaks its look from game to game or from power play to power play.
In addition, Crosby and Malkin, rather than the point man or men, could be used to carry the puck up the ice and get it into the offensive zone. Getting set up has been a problem at times.
"If you have [Malkin] and [Crosby], and they're our best players to carry the puck up the ice, then maybe we'll be putting them in situations to have that happen more," Bylsma said.
-- Shelly Anderson