Shelly Anderson's Penguins hockey chat transcript: 3.24.14


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Shelly Anderson: Mixed results over the weekend. We go live at 2:30 p.m. Eastern to chat all things Penguins.

LeftyParty: Now I may not be Scotty Bowman when it comes to coaching but why on earth did Bylsma send out five left handed shots yesterday during their 5 on 3 powerplay? Better yet, why didn't anybody ask him about it in his post-game?

Shelly Anderson: Well, because it's really not a big issue. The same five forwards were on a five-on-three power play that produced a goal against Detroit last week, and the Penguins have often used their top five forwards in those situations, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin at the points. However, because of a huge amount of interest in this question on today's chat and via Twitter, I asked Dan Bylsma about it today, You can read a fuller answer in the Tuesday Post-Gazette, but he verified that he put his top five power-play guys out there and that there are set plays that take into account the left-handed shots and designed to produce one-time chances.

Arby: Last week I asked a question about the difference in accountability between newer players and veterans. You stated that the new players get more leeway. Was this a typo?

Shelly Anderson: I believe I said that new players, in particular young players, tend to be given a little more latitude when they make mistakes. That seems understandable to me.

Arby: Why has Stempniak not been used on the PK yet? Better to try him there in the regular season to work out the kinks instead of in the playoffs.

Shelly Anderson: It seems as if they are pretty happy with the main penalty killers they have, guys such as Tanner Glass, Craig Adams, Brandon Sutter, Marcel Goc, with some Brian Gibbons and Sidney Crosby (particularly for draws) thrown in.

Concerned: Do you think the dubious roster choices will cost this team in the playoffs? Favortism of, say, Glass and Adams and the dislike of players like Despres doesn't seem like it ends well.

Shelly Anderson: Lot of subjective observations by you, and not sure I fully agree. There is little question Dan Bylsma likes what Craig Adams and Tanner Glass add, defensively and in terms of grit, plus in shorthanded situations. If they Penguins come undone in the playoffs, it seems more likely that it will be because their elite talent faltered.

Jennifer Anistons Hair: Do you have faith in this coaching staff? I don't think I do anymore, consistent playoff failures, the Olympic screw up and continued issues. Reassure me or let me start mourning the season?

Shelly Anderson: While I like hockey, I'm not a fan in the sense that I think in terms of whether I have faith in coaches or players. But I don't pin what has happened in the playoffs since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup solely, or maybe even primarily, on the coaches.

Die Familie: Hi, Shellly! Have a good one. Anything on Letang? Or how Sutter is after the trade rumors? Or how the new guys are settling in?

Shelly Anderson: Going for the three-in-one, I see. Kris Letang continues to practice (did so today) and looks great. However, even he doesn't know when he might get medical clearance to play. He also will have some say in that, and the sense I get is that his return to the lineup is not imminent. Brandon Sutter was relieved that he wasn't traded and seems no worse for the worry. Lee Stempniak has looked really good on the top line, and Marcel Goc has found a role that suits him and the team. I'll be writing about Goc in the Tuesday Post-Gazette.

La Famiglia: Is Zatkoff mustache boy this month or does he just like it? Any info on how Fleury looks leading into the playoffs this season compared to the last 2 or 3?

Shelly Anderson: I don't follow the Penguins' shootout sagas very much, but the most recent one was decided at the outdoor practice in Chicago, and apparently the goaltenders lost and have to grow moustaches this month. Fleury looks very good, just as he always does during the stretch run.

John B: I know the season isn't over yet, but the way the team has played recently things don't seem too positive for the postseason. What changes do you think need to be made in the offseason to improve this team not only next year, but also in the future

Shelly Anderson: We've gone over a few things here, but, really, are you throwing in the towel before April even gets here?

Friday: They should avoid the Flyers and the Bruins in the playoffs, right?

Shelly Anderson: Not necessarily. The Penguins are capable of beating either team. Hate to see any team run from a challenge.

Re Jean: Is this Bylsma's last chance to not have an embarrassing playoff exit? Or Fleury's for that matter?

Shelly Anderson: I don't know if Dan Byslma's job is on the line. I doubt that's the way general manager Ray Shero thinks. I do know that Bylsma wasn't the one who didn't score against Boston or the one who let the Flyers get under his skin a year earlier.

:D :/ :(: How deep do you think they'll realistically go in the playoffs? Not including incredibly luck in avoiding teams that give them real problems.

Shelly Anderson: Again, it's hard to condone a team that shirks from a challenge. But look at the talent on this team. Of course it is capable of at least getting to the Stanley Cup final. That doesn't mean it will happen, but it's awfully premature for fans to give up.

The Chief: Shelly short sample period, but are Stempniak and Goc keepers for next season?

Shelly Anderson: Looks like they could fit in longer term if deals can be worked out. Lee Stempniak, in particular, seems solid. Even with Pascal Dupuis back, you would think there's a spot for Stempniak.

Dave: Can these guys get it all together in time for the playoffs with structure, composure, and the final lineup going forward? Some of us don't trust this team moving forward.

Shelly Anderson: This is still essentially the same team that won a heck of a lot over the first several months of the season. I see some bad tendencies lately to take undisciplined penalties, but I wouldn't go as far as saying they lack composure. That phrase makes me think of the Flyers series a couple of years ago. I would be surprised to see a repeat of that, if for no other reason than Sidney Crosby is someone who learns and corrects, and the Penguins follow his lead.

Pens87: Do you think Dan Bylsma will be a Jack Adams nominee?

Shelly Anderson: It wouldn't surprise me. He won that coach of the year honor before when he coached a team decimated by injuries. The Penguins have certainly gone that route again this season.

Bobo: Why is Bylsma talking about being unsure of whether Beau will stay in the AHL. It was pretty clear that prior to being injured Beau was an excellent Top 6 winger and one of the better wingers on this team. The team can only get better when Beau is in the lineup, so beyond conditioning why would he stay down over lesser wingers: Pyatt, Glass, et al. Would you say that Bylsma has a problem trusting the young talent on the team, as exemplified by the organization's jerking around of Simon Despres?

Shelly Anderson: You might have misunderstood. Beau Bennett is on a conditioning assignment after missing four months because of hand/wrist surgery and a subsequent setback. Bylsma said the plan is for Bennett to play one more game in the AHL, Wednesday.

OG: Hypothetically speaking, if the penguins were to be defeated soundly in the first or second round of playoffs, what are the actual chances that Bylsma and/or Shero would be held accountable for the failure? Would the media? Would ownership?

Shelly Anderson: I've never seen a good definition of being "held accountable." Certainly, there will be plenty of blame to go around under that scenario, and the coaches and management will be under that umbrella with the players. Will anyone get fired or traded because of it? I can't answer that at this point.

Steve Jobs: When will Beau Bennett play for the adult Penguins again? I'm really hoping to see him in-person Friday but I don't know if that's a possibility...

Shelly Anderson: After his three games in the AHL, we could see Bennett in an NHL Penguins uniform pretty quickly, I would think. Friday? Perhaps.

Geoff: When, if ever, do you think we can expect to see Letang and Vokoun back?

Shelly Anderson: That's an excellent question. Two different answers. It now seems, based on Dan Bylsma's comments over the weekend, unlikely that goaltender Tomas Vokoun will get into a game before the end of the season, although I'm a bit baffled by that. With Letang, it's kind of like what we saw with Sidney Crosby when he went through his long concussion/neck injury saga. It's a big unknown. Doctors have to feel comfortable giving Letang the OK, and he has to feel comfortable. I thought it was mildly troubling last week when he said there are still some times he doesn't feel quite right.

Big City: With how well Zatkoff has played, do you think Bylsma would hesitate to go to him in the post-season if Fleury struggles again? Or does his rookie status mean that they sink or swim with the Flower?

Shelly Anderson: Jeff Zatkoff has been an excellent backup goalie. The plan always is to hope you don't need your backup in the playoffs, but if for whatever reason the Penguins needed one, it seems likely they would turn to Zatkoff. It would be tough to throw Vokoun in there after a year off.

Shelly Anderson: Wow, time went fast. Thanks, everyone. We'll do it again next week as we count down to the playoffs.


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