Few coaches like tinkering with their lineups when things are going well. That might not be good news for defensemen Brooks Orpik and Eric Cairns, who are close to being ready to play. "Orpik, I think right now, is ready to play, but the question is, I like the chemistry with the team and the chemistry with the defensemen," coach Michel Therrien said. That can make for good inside competition, Therrien said, but it also can make for some not-so-good competition, as well. "I want to make sure it's good inside competition, that it's not going to be a guy who's wishing that the team's not going to perform well and lose because now I'm going to play him. So, yes, you don't want to change things, but at the same time, you have to be careful with that."
The Penguins have 22 players on the 23-man roster, and that's with Orpik and Ronald Petrovicky on injured reserve, which means, at some point, someone may have to go. "We haven't crossed that bridge yet," general manager Ray Shero said. "It all comes down to the 23-man roster at the end of the day. At some point, if everyone's healthy, we're going to be over 23. But that's if everybody's healthy."
Jordan Staal wouldn't disclose the damage from Thursday's rookie dinner, in which the team's four rookies split the bill for dinner for the entire team. "It was enough," Staal said. "But it was definitely one of the best nights so far. I hope that's the last one, though." Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Noah Welch and Chris Thorburn are the four rookies.
The Penguins are looking for their sixth consecutive tonight. The last time they won six straight was Jan. 17-26, 2002.
"They have a lot of players; it's not just (the top line). They have four lines that are good and especially two lines that can produce. It's not like you can focus in on one line because they'll come at you with many guys. That's their strength." -- Left wing Nils Ekman on his former team, the Sharks.
43 -- Therrien's age today, his birthday.
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