Penguins Notebook: No one hitting panic button
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Questions about his starting goaltender, about his team's defensive play, about getting four of a possible 10 points in the first five games got under the skin of Penguins coach Michel Therrien yesterday.
"You know what? Nobody's panicking," Therrien said after the team's morning skate in preparation for the game last night against Carolina. "It seems that a lot of people are panicking outside [the organization], but inside the team, inside the coaching staff and management, there's no panic.
"We break down the game. We see the games. Yes, the results are not there for X number of reasons. You need some breaks. You need some calls."
As for starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who did not start in favor of backup Dany Sabourin against the Hurricanes, Therrien was fully supportive.
Fleury, 22, won 40 games last season. This season, he is 2-3 with a 4.11 goals-against average and a .871 save percentage going into the game tonight at Washington.
"We've got confidence in Marc-Andre Fleury," Therrien said. "He won a lot of games for us last year. We believe in the kid. He just needs to be himself.
"Right now, we're not panicking. We know that he's going to get better. It's a matter of time. There's nothing wrong with facing adversity for a player or as a team because you know that eventually it's going to make you better."
General manager Ray Shero also backs Fleury and denied a report by TSN's Bob McKenzie that the Penguins are shopping for a veteran goaltender to back up and perhaps challenge Fleury.
"I haven't made that call," Shero said. "We had our plan coming in. I'm very confident he's going to be a good goalie for us.
"I met with him [yesterday] to talk to him. He's a real good kid. He's got talent. He cares. We're only at five, six games. We'll see after 10, 11 games."
Back on the ice
Winger Georges Laraque, who has been out for more than a week because of a groin injury, was in full pads and skated through the whole morning skate.
"It was good, but it was just morning skate, not really the battles of a practice," Laraque said. "I'm just trying to get back to conditioning and skating with the team."
He said it's the same problem that limited him some last month when the Penguins went through team-building exercises and practices at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He played through the pain before aggravating the injury Oct. 10 against Montreal.
Penguins chief operating officer Ken Sawyer said things are going as planned with the new arena. "We're still on target for the 2010-11 season," he said. Demolition work continues across the street from Mellon Arena. ... With three games in four nights, Penguins veterans Sergei Gonchar, Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts sat out the morning skate. ... In addition to Laraque, the Penguins scratched defenseman Alain Nasreddine. ... Hurricanes scratches were defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and David Tanabe and winger Andrew Ladd.
First Published October 20, 2007 12:22 am