Shelly Anderson's Penguins chat transcript
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Bones: Is the loss of Gonchar a fatal blow to the Stanley Cup dream?
Shelly Anderson: We don't know how serious the knee injury to defenseman Sergei Gonchar is. If he is out for the remainder of the playoffs, it certainly would be a big blow to the Penguins in several areas -- the power play, his strong five-on-five play at both ends and, not to be overlooked, his leadership. That said, the Penguins had a big Game 5 win at Washington without him and, of course, have two shots left to advance to the Eastern Conference final.
pens_pen_spens_: Any word if the Caps are going to put Brashear back in the line up tonight? Or will they just continue to rely on Ovechkin to make the dirty hits?
Shelly Anderson: Winger and enforcer Donald Brashear has completed his six-game NHL suspension and was part of the morning skate today, but Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said yesterday he doesn't see how he could work Brashear into the lineup for a game like this. He's the type of player you might want to use early in a series that you expect will be physical. Word in Washington is that Brashear might very well have played his last game as a Capital, regardless of whether the team can come back to beat the Penguins.
James_Taipei: How can the Penguins be on the edge of a second conference championship series appearance with four major starters aged 25 or under? I know that guys like Bill Guerien are important as well but it is amazing that such a young nucleus could lead the Pens to another finals appearance.
Shelly Anderson: Those four major starters would be center Sidney Crosby (21), Evgeni Malkin (22) and Jordan Staal (20) and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (24). They are young, but they have as much experience as a lot of 25-year-olds. Consider that Malkin and Staal are the least experienced of the three, and this was their third NHL season. Talent and drive would be the things that trump experience in this case, I believe.
Jeff_in_NC: How critical is it that the Pens wrap it up tonight and avoid Game 7 on hostile ice?
Shelly Anderson: It would certainly be to the Penguins' tremendous advantage to wrap up the series tonight, get a few days off to rest and watch how the Carolina-Boston series plays out and avoid a Game 7, which would be Wednesday night in Washington. They proved in Game 5 Saturday they can win at Verizon Center, but letting the Capitals back in the series after winning three games in a row would make it all that much harder to close things out if it gets to a winner-take-all road game.
James_Taipei: Do you think that Dan Bylsma can stick with the Penguins for more than a year or two?
Shelly Anderson: The NHL tends to chew coaches up and spit them out pretty frequently, and the Penguins have certainly followed that trend over the years. You never know, though. Dan Bylsma is young and energetic and seems to have a good sense of how to relate to players of all ages. Most important, he's been incredibly successful. If he continues to win, he could buck the system and stick around to get a contract beyond the three-year deal he signed recently when his "interim" tag was removed.
Robbiesdad: I know two games doesn't undo a whole season, but considering his attempt at saving his career, where do you seen Satan playing in 2009/10 ... Penguins, other NHL team, or Europe?
Shelly Anderson: Winger Miroslav Satan has, to some degree, climbed out of the doldrums he was in for most of the season. Once he rejoined the team after a stint in the minor leagues based on salary cap issues and subpar play, and once he got a chance to get into the lineup during the playoffs, he's played fairly well at times and is getting points here and there. What happens this summer, when he can become an unrestricted free agent, remains to be seen. Certainly, it's hard to imagine the Penguins or any other NHL team offering something close to the $3.5 million he got for this season.
Jason: More likely to come back next season: Fedotenko or Guerin? None? Both?
Shelly Anderson: The salary cap will help dictate this, but a lot also depends on what general manager Ray Shero thinks of wingers Ruslan Fedotenko and Bill Guerin as top-six forwards. Fedotenko was playing pretty well until he broke his hand and has again been productive during the playoffs. Guerin isn't the perfect fit as a winger for Sidney Crosby, but he's been the best they've had since Marian Hossa signed with Detroit last summer.
Chooch79: If Sarge is able to come back, do they keep GoGo in Pgh as an insurance policy?
Shelly Anderson: That's certainly possible, especially if Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's season ends tomorrow night in Game 7 against Hershey. Alex Goligoski spent considerable time with the Penguins during the regular season and seems to be a strong option for the future, which could be the near future if the Penguins lose a defenseman or two to free agency this summer. Goligoski can play point on the power play and seems to "think" the game well.
James_Taipei: Do you think that fans will stop blasting Crosby if the Penguins win the Cup? If he can win a cup he would have done it a lot faster than Lemieux.
Shelly Anderson: I'm not aware of fans being overly critical of Sidney Crosby outside of maybe Philadelphia and Washington. The guy won multiple NHL awards two years ago and, after a season shortened by an ankle injury, finished third in league scoring this season and so far this postseason is playing like a possible Conn Smythe winner.
Jack_Bauer: How did Ovechkin not get a suspension after his hit on Gonchar?
Shelly Anderson: I don't know what angles of video the NHL had, but it did not go as far as conducting hearing with Washington's Alex Ovechkin over his hit that injured Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar. He and the Capitals have expressed remorse and contend it was an attempted shoulder check with an unfortunate side effect. Just because someone gets hurt doesn't automatically make it a suspend-able offense.
Shelly Anderson: OK, gang. Thanks. We'll be back next week if the Penguins make it to the conference final.
First Published May 11, 2009 3:09 pm