Shelly Anderson's Penguins chat transcript: 04.28.14

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The Chief: Shelly, hope you are doing well. From a skillset how would you compare Brooks Orpik and Robert Bortuzzo? Of course eliminating the experience factor...

Shelly Anderson: Not sure you can overlook the huge experience edge Orpik has, but then again Bortuzzo has an edge in youth. Orpik is more physical, even if Bortuzzo is bigger. Their skill sets actually are comparable, although Bortuzzo isn't seen as ready to be part of a shudown pair as Orpik is. The Penguins didn't put Bortuzzo in Orpik's spot alongside Paul Martin with Orpik hurt; they went with Kris Letang instead.

Pucks Joey: I think it's clear that a lot of Pens fans, and perhaps even players, underestimated this Blue Jackets team. They were one of the hottest clubs in the league for the last month of the season and didn't beat out some pretty good competition to get into the playoffs by accident. Yet it seems that a lot of people thought this series was going to be a cake walk. Thoughts?

Shelly Anderson: The fans, maybe, but not the team. The Penguins are smarter than that (and those who might not have been can certainly remember the Islanders last year). The example that is used a lot -- and it's a good one - is that LA went into the playoffs as a No. 8 seed a couple of years ago and won the Cup.

Ross: I remember the article about Sid talking to Geno when he came back from Sochi. Its a leader making sure all of his players are confident in their abilities and the rest of the team is there for support. Who does Sid talk to when he is in a slump or feeling low? Im sure the pressure of no goals is on his mind but I would hate to see him crumble without a release.

Shelly Anderson: Your question came in in time for me to ask Sidney about that after the morning skate. You can read the full answer in the Tuesday PG, but essentially he said the answer is no one. Crosby does his best to maintain an even keel whether he's scoring or not - and he doesn't measure his game just in goals. Not much chance of that guy crumbling.

Nick: The return of goc is what makes Malkin and Crosby playing together possible, but is that what best suites the pens going forward If they advance?

Shelly Anderson: I wouldn't expect Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to remain on the same line for a long stretch of time, but the Penguins now know they can use them together at times and still have a good set of lines.

Nick: Any word on gibbons?

Shelly Anderson: Brian Gibbons was on the ice for the game-day skate today, but he didn't participate in line rushes. He has a shoulder injury, at least unofficially. Word is he still has pain and some range-of-motion issues, so he's not ready.

Jim k: What are the chances of the Baby Penguins doing anything in the AHL playoffs. I know that they are one up and one down in the best of five. Seems like the team has alot of new faces especially on defense and goal

Shelly Anderson: I'm not in the prediction business, especially for a team I don't see all the time, but I have noticed that the WBS Penguins, who are 1-1 against Binghamton with both games decided in overtime, are getting points from names familiar ti Penguins fans -- Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Tom Kostopoulos, Brian Dumoulin.

Joe: Do you think Crosby is injured? Lots of people are speculating that he is playing hurt.

Shelly Anderson: It's possible he's got some minor issue or two. Just about every player does this time of year. But something that's really limiting him or preventing him from scoring (or at times hitting the net)? No, I don't think so.

David: With the season that he's had, what is the minimum contract that Matt Niskanen would entertain to stay with the Pens, in your opinion?

Shelly Anderson: What he could ask for, it would seem, would be something north of the six-year, $30 million extension Andrew MacDonald recently got. What he will ask for -- from the Penguins or any other team, should he reach free agency -- is his secret for now.

jimmyo: Shelly enjoy your comments, don't have any questions except I wish England would play in at least one game.

Shelly Anderson: Deryk Engelland is a great team player, a tough customer, and a better player than perhaps many give him credit for. It looks as if it will be Bortuzzo in for Orpik again, but I can go along with you and say it would be nice to see Engelland get into a game.

Fordy: Clearly Gibbons should replace one of Glass or Adams when ready, right? It'll be interesting to see how Bylsma gets around this one.

Shelly Anderson: Different styles, though. Gibbons was doing well on the top line because of his speed. He doesn't have good size for fourth-line duty in the playoffs.

Rich: Do you think Sutter has succeeded in his role as a Jordan Staal replacement? Jordan was a shut down force, unfortunately we have never quite been able to see the same results from Sutter.

Shelly Anderson: I don't think Sutter or anyone in the Penguins organization put that expectation on him, to be another Jordan Staal. Sutter has played well at times, in both ends. He has been held back by a tremendous revolving door of wingers. Remember, Jordan Staal had steady linemates in Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke for a long time.

Guest: do you think Sidney Crosby will finally come out of his slump tonight vs coloumbus

Shelly Anderson: Again, not in the prediction business, but I will say that Crosby is not visibly down or frustrated. There's no doubt he wants to break the dam with a goal, but he has been patient even when asked about it every day.

Rich: There were reports of Mario Lemieux coming into the locker room after game 4 to speak to Marc Andre. How involved is Mario with the players on a day to day basis?

Shelly Anderson: Hard to tell, since we don't know what might happen in the training room area, for instance, or by text, etc. Mario Lemieux, the Hall of Fame center and now team owner, is around at times after games, but it's clear he keeps a respectful distance in terms of interfering with management.

Benny Hill Hockey: Did Jacque Martin have alot to do with the gameplan for saturdays game? Or did Dan finally wise up with his D-zone coverage? They also looked ALOT better with Brooks sidelined.

Shelly Anderson: Not sure. Dan Bylsma and the Penguins aren't very forthcoming about Jacques Martin's specific duties. Martin did address the club at the end of the game-day skate that day. Perhaps he had some magic words. And I'm not at all assuming a cause-and-effect relationship between the Penguins strong effort in Game 6 and Orpik's absence. The forwards played better defense, too.

Roy: Why are Pens so inconsistent from period to period. They are usually flat in the 1st and come on stronger in the 2nd & 3rd period

Shelly Anderson: Good question. Emotions, particularly in the playoffs, are funny things. Consistency is the backbone of any good team, but it also can be elusive.

LaX: There's rumblings about Bylsma and Shero's jobs being in trouble. They're consistently getting skewered and embarrassed on national news outlets like TSN. Nobody takes this Pens team seriously, not even Columbus, the worst team in the playoffs. Does Bylsma's recent line juggling reflect a coaching for his job mentality?

Shelly Anderson: Dan Bylsma surely has heard the criticism and the guessing about his job status -- none of which, as far as I can tell, comes from inside the club. Coaches who start tinkering to save their jobs usually fail. I think Bylsma is stronger than that.

Pucks Joey: Are you impressed with the job Michel Therrien has done with the Canadiens? I always thought he was a great coach who was instrumental in the Pens turnaround.

Shelly Anderson: Well, maybe I shouldn't point out that there was a pretty loud call for his head at times during the season. But anyone who coaches a team to a sweep in any round of the playoffs is doing something right. Michael Therrien is a good coach; he just lost the ears of his players here.

Rich: Why has the passion and drive of this team come into question so many times this season? Is it a matter of leadership? This was always the last thing we had to worry about for this team.

Shelly Anderson: That question seems to come from outside, and it's likely tied to wins and losses. I don't see a lack of either from this club, but I understand the concern when a team is falling short of expectations.

James_Pittsburgh: Any surprises in this year's playoffs to you Shelly? I didn't expect Boston to allow Detroit only a 1 game victory, the Bruins look solid as usual.

Shelly Anderson: Agreed. And I didn't expect Tampa to get swept by Montreal, either. Not because Montreal isn't good enough, but because of the Stamkos factor.

Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Whew, lots of questions. Got to as many as I could. Thanks.

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