Penguins Notebook: Talbot remains hopeful he can face Flyers Friday
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Twenty-one players went on the ice for the Penguins' optional workout at Mellon Arena yesterday.
Conspicuously absent from the half-hour or so of low-key, four-on-four scrimmaging was center Max Talbot, whose right foot was broken when he blocked a shot in Game 2 of the Penguins' second-round series against the New York Rangers.
Talbot, though, said he hopes to participate in practice today and reiterated that he expects to dress for the opener of the Eastern Conference final Friday night against Philadelphia at Mellon Arena.
"I'll probably play," he said. "That's the plan. It feels better and better every day."
Whether Talbot's optimism is rooted in medical reality isn't clear; incomplete, if not flat-out inaccurate, injury reports are the norm in the NHL at this time of year.
Former Penguins general manager Craig Patrick once threw reporters completely off the scent during the postseason by issuing a thorough, honest report on a player's injury. It took days for people to realize Patrick had been caught telling the truth.
Coach Michel Therrien definitely didn't lie about Talbot's prognosis yesterday because he declined to offer one, saying only that Talbot continues to be listed as day-to-day.
"We'll see Friday," Therrien said. "Hopefully, he'll be there."
Flyers' Timonen big Malkin fan
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who Flyers coach John Stevens figures to match against whichever line he deems to be the Penguins' most dangerous, chose Evgeni Malkin when asked during a conference call yesterday whether Malkin, Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin is the toughest to defend.
"I think Malkin is the best player out of those three," Timonen said. "Ovechkin, he's a totally different player than Crosby or Malkin: He's a scorer, not a playmaker.
"Malkin, he plays hard, you can hit that guy and he keeps on going. Out of those three guys, he's the best right now."
Snider's take ... uh ... different
Here's the take of Flyers chairman Ed Snider on how the Penguins became a contender, as reported by the Delaware County Times:
"I think Freddie's son [general manager Ray Shero] has done a terrific job. But let's face it, you get rewarded for being the worst team in the league, and Pittsburgh has all these great players for being lousy for so many years.
"That much, I don't like so much. I've never been in favor of the draft the way it is in any sport, but I've never been able to change it."
While Snider clearly doesn't care for a draft designed to allow weaker teams to draft quality prospects and become better -- a staple of most major leagues -- he never seemed to mind team-building via free agency and was consistently among the NHL's biggest spenders in the pre-salary cap era.
Whether he got a fair return on the money he invested is a matter of perspective. The Flyers haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1975; the other four teams in the Atlantic Division have combined for 10 since then.
It wasn't champagne
In some sports, teams seem willing to break out the champagne to celebrate just about any accomplishment, including breaking even in an intrasquad scrimmage. Not so in hockey, where such celebrations are reserved for clubs that win a Stanley Cup.
So when Pascal Dupuis stood in front of his locker guzzling from a bottle minutes after the Penguins' 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers Sunday, no one figured he had broken out a bottle of Dom Perignon to commemorate reaching the East final.
Especially since that particular product doesn't come in square, plastic bottles.
Turns out Dupuis was chugging from a container of Pedialyte (vintage/sell-by date unknown), a substance formulated to replace fluids and electrolytes children lose because of diarrhea or vomiting.
"I need it," Dupuis said. "I lose probably, in an overtime game like [Game 5], nine or 10 pounds."
Therrien declined to say whether he will stick with the defense pairings -- Brooks Orpik-Sergei Gonchar, Hal Gill-Rob Scuderi and Ryan Whitney-Kris Letang -- he used during the second round. ... Penguins general manager Ray Shero, whose father used to coach the Flyers, on his early recollections of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia rivalry: "I personally hated Pittsburgh youth hockey, because we used to come here with the Little Flyers and get skunked all the time."
First Published May 7, 2008 12:00 am