Shelly Anderson's Penguins hockey chat transcript: 4.21.14

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Shelly Anderson: Welcome to the first playoff edition of the Penguins chat.

Guest: I know you arent on the coaching staff but can you maybe provide any insight as to why the PP seems to have regressed? Multiple bad passes through CBJ PK that get intercepted by Sid, Geno etc. are insane!

Shelly Anderson: The cross-ice passes that get picked off are certainly momentum-killers. I can only assume that the shooting lanes appear to be clogged at those times. In past years, those passes helped create good backdoor-play opportunities. They sure aren't working now.

morozov50: How is it possible a team and a powerplay full of stars, can't break the puck into the offensive zone on a power play. sounds like bad coaching to me, do you agree?

Shelly Anderson: No, sounds like strong penalty-killing by Columbus and less-than-ideal execution by the members of the Penguins power play.

pghgolfgirl: So, does a D-man have to get injured before Dan will insert Bortuzzo? After 2 questionable (and that's being generous) games by Scudari, isn't it time to see what Bortuzzo can do?

Shelly Anderson: If the Penguins are considering a change for Game 3 tonight, it was not evident at the morning skate. Robert Bortuzzo, though inexperienced, seems like a good fit for the playoffs -- big, physical, responsible. Don't forget, though, the tremendous amount of respect the organization (and fans) have for Rob Scuderi, which is why they brought him back.

A: Does Mario ever come in the locker room to chat with the players? Maybe he needs to give them a talking to about there play lately. Lol

Shelly Anderson: Since the Penguins moved to Consol Energy Center, I have seen Hall of Famer and now owner Mario Lemieux come to the locker room area frequently after games, but he generally does not go into the locker room proper. He tends to let management do its thing without interfering.

Amy: What is the tone of the locker room? You think they will play better tonight.

Shelly Anderson: As I've said before, I stay out of the prediction business. I will say that things seemed very even-keel at the game-day skate and in the locker room afterward. Not quite as stuffy as "business-like" but certainly no goofing around.

pghgolfgirl: Is Matt Niskanen the new "conscious" of the Pens? He seems to be the only one standing up and speaking his mind after both loses and wins. Lord knows he seems to be one of the few that have shown up to games thus far. IMO, his play so far really indicates how badly the management needs to re-sign him, even if that means letting Orpik go and buying out Scudari. Thoughts?

Shelly Anderson: Matt Niskanen has become a very solid and impressive part of the organization, on and off of the ice. He will command a lot of attention and money if he hits the open market. It depends a great deal on whether he might be willing to take one of those "hometown discounts" compared with what some other teams might throw at him.

Sideline: Craig Adams and Rob Scuderi look too old and too slow to be on the ice. Letang has been atrocious. Kunitz and Neal have yet to finish a check let alone a scoring chance. Is this bad players, bad coaching, or something else?

Shelly Anderson: I've never thought of this generation of Penguins as having many "bad players," but some of their world-class players have not been producing at the level they need to in the playoffs. That would seem to be squarely on them.

Joe: Are you concerned about Sid and Geno? Those players are putting up some points but they don't look right.

Shelly Anderson: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin need to score some goals. There's no question about that. If you are asking if they are injured or in some other way struggling, not that I know of.

PITTfaninCLE: Shelly, this is a test: Would you sit Letang tonight for a Bortuzzo or Despres?

Shelly Anderson: Simon Despres is in the AHL, so he's not an option. As mentioned earlier, Bortuzzo would seem like a good fit in the playoffs, but the depth at defense makes it difficult. No, I would not sit Kris Letang. He's too talented and he deserves more of a chance to get his game in gear after going through a trying experience.

Duff Man: Any thoughts to the D pairings tonight?

Shelly Anderson: The Penguins used the same pairings this morning that they had in Games 1 and 2. Don't see any changes coming, at least for the start of the game.

Vokouna Maattata: A lot of people, including ones in the organization, are pegging in Bennett as Crosby's long term RW, and rightfully so. However, in the time Bennett and Crosby have played together, they have not gelled together like people would have hoped. Crosby, and for that matter Kunitz as well, just continue to do their own thing, playing the same way that they did when Dupuis was on the roster. It's almost like those 2 expect Bennett to play like Dupuis, which is extremely counterproductive considering Beau's strong points. Is that a byproduct of Crosby only playing with grinders in his entire career? And if Bennett and Crosby can't gel together, do the Pens need to go out and find someone that can? If Crosby really wants a fast grinder on his line, Evander Kane fits the bill well.

Shelly Anderson: Don't forget that Beau Bennett still hasn't played a lot of NHL hockey, and he said today this when shooting his wrist still bothers him some. Without Brian Gibbons (who looks to be out tonight), Bennett offers a different skill set. I disagree about Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. They are smart, team-minded players who understand the differences in players and adjust and work with them accordingly.

CareyAD: Who would say is the actual team leader of the Pens in the locker room? Do they have one?

Shelly Anderson: Not sure if there is one guy. As Brooks Orpik has told us, no one other than the players really knows what goes on most of the time in the locker room. I believe there are different leaders -- Orpik being one, and sometimes a vocal one. Sidney Crosby is certainly a leader because of the respect he commands and the examples he sets.

dave: Is there any chance they would scratch Letang?

Shelly Anderson: Anything is possible, but I don't see that happening at this point.

James_Pittsburgh: No playoff series is ever easy and that's proving true with the Penguins dealing with a pesky Blue Jackets team, do you think Bylsma is happy with Fleury's play thus far?

Shelly Anderson: I would hope so. Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid, at times spectacular.

Norm: There has been a lot of consternation about the Pens not being built for the playoffs. Can it be that a conscience business decision was made by ownership to put a team on the ice that is highly entertaining in the regular season to maximize profits over 41 home games with hopes that they can get through as many playoff series as possible before the physical play and go to the net style of the playoffs catches up with them.

Shelly Anderson: Doubt it. The Penguins have no trouble making money, but if they become the Chicago Cubs that won't continue to be the case. They absolutely have the Stanley Cup in mind from top to bottom in the organization.

Chuckles: Shelly, do you think Columbus is up to the task of playoff hockey and will show up tonight, or are they still buzzing over the Ohio State spring game?

Shelly Anderson: Laugh if you want, but there have been people milling around the arena district all day. The city really does seem to be embracing the Jackets. No doubt the win in Game 2 just heightened things.

s: Do you suppose we're done with the 4 forward PP model for the time being?

Shelly Anderson: Really hard to say. Using two defensemen means relegating James Neal to the second unit. That was the look this morning. We'll see if it lasts the full game.

Superstar Adams: Does Crosby and Malkin have to do everything for this team to have success? I thought this team had some really great depth?

Shelly Anderson: If the Penguins didn't have depth, they would be trailing two games to none. But when you have the talent that Crosby and Malkin do, it's needed in the playoffs.

James_Pittsburgh: Shelly, now that the Blue Jackets have the last change for 2 straight games, what do you see the coaching strategies for both Pittsburgh and Columbus?

Shelly Anderson: Todd Richards, the Columbus coach, noted this morning that he will use his last-change advantage as he sees fit. He did not commit to, say, using Brandon Dubinsky against Sidney Crosby. Beyond that, the coaches were tight-lipped, which is typical of the playoffs.

NealGeno7118: Why where there times in Game 2 when Crosby was at the point? Powerplay setup looked out of place last game..don't understand all these PP changes in the postseason why not try them during the regular season to give players a chance to adjust and learn?

Shelly Anderson: Other than during five-on-threes, Crosby is not on the point by design. He sometimes rotates up top as plays develop, just to be defensively responsible.

Franklin Orpik: Sell me on why the Pens should re-sign Orpik and let Nisky walk.

Shelly Anderson: Can't do that because that doesn't seem prudent. It might not be one or the other. Ray Shero has worked bigger magic.

Shelly Anderson: OK, thanks everyone. Enjoy the game tonight.

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