Penguins Notebook: Lack of sleep not a problem for Penguins
It was 1:30 Monday morning by the time the Penguins' airplane landed in Pittsburgh after their game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Wired from a busy weekend that included games in Philadelphia and New York, winger Tyler Kennedy said he didn't fall asleep at home until 3:30 a.m.
Yet, there he was — with each of his teammates — on the ice at Consol Energy Center for a noon practice that lasted an hour.
The schedule is grueling, but the players, who are off Tuesday before the home opener Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, aren't complaining.
“I'm pretty tired, but it's not bad,” Kennedy said. “I'll get a good night's rest (Monday) and go from there.”
Added Sidney Crosby: “I think it's good just to turn the page quick, come in Wednesday and be ready to play against Toronto and not be thinking about the New York game.”
Coach Dan Bylsma's plan is to squeeze as much good, hard practice time as possible into the shortened season -- even it's immediately after two games in two days.
“We wanted to get a good practice in and, then, have a full day of rest going into the game,” he said, “versus getting a whole day of rest and having a light practice the day before the game.”
Kennedy loses goal
The NHL took a goal away from Kennedy in the Flyers game Saturday and awarded it to defenseman Paul Martin, whose low-point shot had appeared to be deflected into the net by Kennedy.
Losing the goal doesn't bother Kennedy, who actually scored one Sunday against the Rangers.
“I didn't touch it,” he said. “I'm more worried about wins than points this year,” he said. “I'm happy for (Martin). We are all focused on one goal here and it doesn't have anything to do with points.”
Bylsma said there were no injuries “of note” to report after the first two games of the season.
The good news extends to backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who said he has no lingering effects from the groin tear he suffered last season with the Washington Capitals.
“No restrictions, no problems, no pain,” said Vokoun, who made 31 saves in the 6-3 victory against the Rangers. “I'm pretty glad it worked out because it took a long time (to heal). There were times when I didn't even know if it would be back to normal.”
Bylsma said splitting the first two games between Marc-Andre Fleury and Vokoun was a “no-brainer,” considering the Penguins had back-to-back road games.
He said there is no definite, long-term schedule for his goaltenders, but Fleury will play a majority of the games, with more rest than in a normal schedule.
“In a 48-game season, it's going to look a lot closer to 60/40 or 55/45 than in an 82-game season,” Bylsma said. “The schedule will dictate that a little bit in terms of making sure there's rest and not playing too many games in a row as the season goes along.”
Dupuis at his best
There is a case to be made that right wing Pascal Dupuis is playing the finest hockey of his career.
He scored 25 goals last season despite not playing on a line centered by Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby.
Dupuis' goal Sunday at New York was more than just his first of the season. It was his first on the power play since Nov. 20, 2006, when he played for the Minnesota Wild.
Dupuis has not played on the Penguins' top power-play unit since he was acquired from Atlanta on Feb. 26, 2008.
'Get in there'
Bylsma thought something was wrong Sunday when he heard the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden and Tanner Glass was sitting on the bench. There would be nothing wrong with that, normally, except Glass was in the starting lineup.
“I said, 'Tanner, you're starting,' and he looked at me. He obviously didn't hear it in the dressing room,” Bylsma said.
Glass may have been confused by his insertion on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
“We wanted to put Tanner out there with that group to set the tone for the game,” Bylsma said.
Given the opportunity, Glass got into a fight with the Rangers' Arron Asham two seconds into the game.
“Glass did a good job of setting the tone,” Bylsma said.
Rob Rossi contributed to this notebook. Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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