Penguins Notebook: Guerin, as expected, takes major leadership role

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Penguins acquired Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline because they believed he could be an effective linemate for Sidney Crosby.

They also figured he could add some veteran leadership to the locker room, and Guerin apparently did that in the minutes after the Penguins' 3-0 loss Thursday to Philadelphia at Mellon Arena, offering a blunt assessment of how the team has been performing.

Precisely what Guerin had to say might never be known -- no one should expect to see a tape of his remarks show up on, say, YouTube anytime soon -- but his words seemed to make an impression.

"He's one of those guys who automatically draws everyone's attention," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "A pretty respected guy.

"Sometimes, it's good to have guys like that stand up and say stuff, even if it's not exactly what you want to hear. No one takes it personally."

Guerin declined to discuss the details of his comments.

"Honestly, I don't really want to talk about it," he said. "Just keep our things like that in-house.

"Just basic stuff. It wasn't splitting the atom."

Unexpected contributors

Going into Game 5 of the Washington-New York Rangers series last night, Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's most prolific goal-scorer in recent seasons, had scored once on 35 shots.

Meanwhile, Penguins defensemen Rob Scuderi and Mark Eaton have combined for two goals on three shots against the Flyers, going into Game 6 today.

Pretty easy to figure out who the greatest offensive threats are, huh?

"It's not the quantity of shots you take, it's the quality, right?" Eaton said, maintaining a straight face for a good three syllables of his response.

With only five forwards having generated goals in the series, the Penguins obviously are pleased that guys like Eaton and Scuderi have chipped in. Not that anyone should count on them being regulars on the scoresheet.

"We're grateful for the opportunity to contribute," Scuderi said.

"But I don't think the team should expect it on a regular basis."

Cryptic responses

Right winger Petr Sykora and defenseman Kris Letang, both of whom were removed from the lineup for Game 5, practiced yesterday, although interim coach Dan Bylsma -- in keeping with a practice he has said will be maintained throughout the playoffs -- declined to say whether they will be in the lineup today.

Sykora lost his spot, at least in part, because he had scored just two goals in his previous 21 games.

Yesterday, Bylsma offered a somewhat cryptic explanation for why he also sat Letang Thursday.

"He needs to be aware of different situations in the game that factor into where he can use his skill and execution," Bylsma said.

"I don't think it was a situation where he was playing terribly when we took him out. There were other factors going into it."

He didn't elaborate on those "other factors," but Letang is believed to have been injured in Game 4.

Tip-ins

Before the Rangers and Capitals played last night, Penguins right winger Tyler Kennedy was the only NHL player to record two game-winning goals in these playoffs. ... General manager Ray Shero declined to say whether Minnesota or Colorado, both of whom are searching for a GM, have spoken to him about his highly regarded assistant, Chuck Fletcher. "My policy on Chuck is that I'm not going to say anything," Shero said.



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