Shelly Anderson: A different day this week because of travel and logistics, but same time as always -- we'll go live at 2:30 p.m. today.
Ross: With all of the talk about Sid getting hit by Staal repeatedly, can the Pens speak to the refs before the game to keep an eye on Staal? NFL coaches will tell refs about players holding/clutching etc. Or will the Pens just play and let the players dish out the justice?
Shelly Anderson: Beefing to the officials has never seemed to be of much benefit in the NHL. But neither do I expect the Penguins to go after Marc Staal tonight and take penalties.
Ross: Throughout his career it seems, no matter what game it is, the announcers will mention that Flower is bad at puck handling. Does he work on it at practice? Does he ever mention a deficiency in this area? Every other aspect of his game is solid.
Shelly Anderson: Sure, he works on it, but that's certainly the weakest part of Marc-Andre Fleury's game. There are plays where a goaltender needs to play the puck for his defensemen. He doesn't fumble the puck every time, although sometimes it might seem like it.
Alicia: Shero really did a great job at the trade deadline getting Goc and Stempniak! Do you think Shero will sign them for next season ? Stempniak has been a great 3rd liner.
Shelly Anderson: Agreed – good moves. There will be a lot of decisions to make on potential free agents. Marcel Goc ($1.7 million) and Lee Stempniak ($2.5 million) came in as rentals, essentially. They have fit in well and might well have earned a shot at being re-signed, but even with the salary cap going up, it's not assured that they will fit whatever Ray Shero decides is the big picture.
Amy: I miss duper in these playoffs.Such a shame about his injury. Is he around at all in the room?
Shelly Anderson: Yes, Pascal Dupuis, who is recovering from ACL surgery is around. He's doing his rehab with the Penguins staff. I miss him in the locker room -- fun guy, good interview.
The Chief: Shelly, I am at wits end as to why the Penguins can not consistently play the type of game they did in 5 of the last 6 periods with Columbus and games 2/3 against the Rangers. What cause them to go off the plan?
Shelly Anderson: Probably a combination of what the other teams are doing, and plain old human nature. Consistency is huge in sports, and it's difficult to achieve, even for good teams.
Ross: In watching Brooks skate or walk around lately, have you noticed any limp or indication of what his mystery ailment is?
Shelly Anderson: The only time I've seen Brooks Orpik walk was a couple of steps today when he went straight into the training room, bypassing the locker room and a throng of waiting reporters. But he participated in the morning skate today. I saw nothing that would suggest he is limited or that was indicate what his injury is.
Blaugrana: What is the possibility that Maata sits in favor of Orpik when Orpik is ready to go? Seems like physical play is at a premium in this series and that Bortuzzo is playing well.
Shelly Anderson: Interesting question. The knee-jerk answer is that Robert Bortuzzo comes out when Orpike is ready to return, but Bortuzzo has played well. Olli Maatta hasn't been as strong at times as he was for most of his rookie regular season, but I like the idea of keeping him in the lineup to get playoff experience.
pghgolfgirl: 2 quick questions: Will Chris Kreider, just coming off of a hand injury, make a difference for the Rangers if he plays tonight? Also, besides MAF himself, who is the most responsible for his postseason turnaround, Mike Bales or his sports psychologist?
Shelly Anderson: It's not certain that Kreider, who had surgery for a broken hand, will play tonight, but he's medically cleared and seems close. If he can produce some offense and improve the Rangers power play, that will be more than anyone else on that team has done the past couple of games.
SDWC: Any anticipated lineup changes for tonight?
Shelly Anderson: Didn't look like it from the game-day skate, unless Orpik surprises us by being ready.
Jeff M.: Who do you think could be the unsung hero in the pens game tonight?
Shelly Anderson: As always, I have an aversion to predictions, but I'll say that any hero won't be unsung, especially if the Penguins are able to take a 3-1 series lead.
Elmo: Hi, Shelly! What's your take on or knowledge of why HCDB keeps going back to lines that don't work? Because it keeps leading to the team struggling and then going back to what was effective.
Shelly Anderson: I've actually been impressed with Dan Bylsma's line management, particularly his going to Crosby and Malkin playing together at times and the shifting to get that. Brandon Sutter and Marcel Goc have made that scenario work, I believe.
TwistandShout: Were you surprised that Glass got scratched? You don't think that could change, do you?
Shelly Anderson: Yes, some. It was a matter of finally having all the forwards healthy and the Penguins wanting to get Brian Gibbons back in the lineup. It didn't look this morning as if anything will change for tonight, which isn't surprising coming of a win.
Twirl: Do you know anything about Bylsma's media training? Because that needs help, it really does.
Shelly Anderson: Not sure of your exact criticism. Dan Bylsma played in the NHL and from what I understand was a go-to guy for reporters. If you're referring to him not dishing out much scoop, well, that's the way the Penguins want it -- particularly in the playoffs.
Andy: Is Letang fully back to full speed and do you trust his defensive play?
Shelly Anderson: If not full speed, then close, and I believe what they say about Kris Letang -- he's at his best when he's concentrating on the defensive aspect of his game and letting the offense happen. He and Paul Martin seem to mesh well on both counts.
Andy: How do you assess MAF's Game 3? Clearly some great saves, but also 3 pucks beat him and luckily hit the post/crossbar.
Shelly Anderson: Guess that's why Fleury called the pipes his friends after the game. Not going to bash a goaltender after two playoff shutouts in a row.
The Monk: I think MAFs play of late is a reflection on the attention to D the pens have been showing of late. He has been Fluerific in the last two games!
Shelly Anderson: You and Andy, above, should talk.
Couch: What do you know about Orpik returning and what do you know about what's going on with the Scuderi situation? 2 Questions in one I suppose, but it's the playoffs.
Shelly Anderson: It would seem that Orpik might be close. He's been skating, and was described by Bylsma as a full participant in the morning skate today.
Sorry, not sure what the Scuderi situation is.
Marc: What is your take on Neal so far these playoffs? I haven't seen much out of him. Not a whole lot of production to make up for his lazy play much of the time.
Shelly Anderson: He has been a little quiet, although not looking slow or out of sorts. Remember, he's off of the top power-play unit in favor of two defensemen at the points, and he's not always playing with Malkin. At the same time, he's been staying disciplined.
Randy Butternubs: For a more serious question, who is a vocal leader that people may not expect?
Shelly Anderson: I'm really not sure. We all know about Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi, and I've been told that anyone with something to say is welcome to do that.
JAY-MAN: Do you think its a good idea for Scuds to sit for Orpik? Scuds has struggled all playoffs
Shelly Anderson: He hasn't been at his best all the time, has he? Well, the Penguins like Tanner Glass, and he's now a healthy scratch.
The Chief: Shelly, I am starting to become a Beau Bennett believer. He needs to get stronger but I can see him playing on Sid's right wing for some time.
Shelly Anderson: Count me as a fan, too. He not only needs to get healthy, but he also needs to get and stay healthy (that wrist is not 100 percent). He's got skill and savvy.
jeff m: Shelly, I know the penguins are obviously focused on NYR right now. But do you get a sense they follow the other matchups closely?
Shelly Anderson: As closely as they can, yes. Most of them don't seem to watch from a scouting standpoint, though. They're just diehard hockey fans.
Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Thanks for hanging in there with the schedule change this week. Aiming for the regular Monday slot next week.