New NHL coaches will face surging Penguins

| Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011

There was hesitance among Penguins players to specifically address the firing of Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. No need to add fuel to the fire that is arguably the NHL's fiercest rivalry.

Boudreau was let go Monday morning, about an hour before the Carolina Hurricanes fired coach Paul Maurice.

The Penguins play at Washington on Thursday and at Carolina on Saturday night.

"System-wise, those guys are obviously going to be a little bit in between, but the effort, guys will probably be charged up like a playoff game trying to impress the new coach," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

Orpik, citing the Penguins' coaching change from Michel Therrien to Dan Bylsma in February 2009, said it is probably better to play the Capitals and Hurricanes early during these transitions.

Bylsma did not disagree. He said the challenge for Dale Hunter (Washington) and Kirk Muller (Carolina) is to accept "whatever vision they have, whatever systematically they might want to do, it's going to take a fair amount of time for them to start down that road."

Bylsma, who did not fully integrate his system until the training camp after he replaced Therrien, led the Penguins to an 18-3-4 finish and the Stanley Cup.

> > Defenseman Kris Letang is expected play Tuesday night at the New York Rangers, though as of Monday, he said he had not taken a baseline concussion test. Letang said he will have to pass that test before he receives medical clearance to play against the Rangers. He described his broken nose as "pretty messed up," and acknowledged he met yesterday morning with a nose specialist and a concussion expert before joining the Penguins' practice late. Letang absorbed a shoulder to the face from Montreal Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty late in the third period Saturday.

Letang reiterated Monday there are no hard feelings between the players.

Pacioretty was suspended three games for his hit on Letang, the NHL's Director of Player Discipline Brendan Shanahan said Monday night.

> > Sidney Crosby was named the NHL's No. 1 star for last week. He recorded nine points in four games, his first contests after missing nearly 11 months because of a concussion. Yesterday, the NHL awarded Crosby an assist on center Jordan Staal's tying goal Saturday at Montreal.

> > Defensemen Joe Morrow and Scott Harrington, the Penguins' first- and second-round draft picks, are among 41 prospects invited to Team Canada's World Junior selection camp.

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