For those of you who didn't get an opportunity to listen to NHL Live interview our beloved Head Coach at 1:30pm EST, I'll attempt to provide a brief recap of what was asked and his responses.
More after the jump.
Not surprisingly, the first question asked was about the play of Marc-Andre Fleury in general. Coach Bylsma said basically that Marc had had a very strong training camp, and that the first couple games of the season, he didn't get the results that he wanted. He speculated that this might have compounded into a bit of a confidence issue for Fleury, and that the team was taking a "back to basics" approach with him, adding that Marc needed to get back to being the kind of goalie that the team knows he is capable of being, and has been in the past.
The next question was regarding the emergence of Kris Letang as a go-to defenseman. Coach Bylsma said that what we're seeing this year is "a version of the guy you saw coming out in last year's playoffs". He praised Letang's ability as a "great skater" who can also defend and play with the puck. Something I noticed was that the interviewer specifically asked if Letang had exceeded the team's expectations for him, and Coach Bylsma seemed to make it a point to not address that question directly. Speculate about that as you wish.
The conversation then turned to the Jordan Staal situation. Coach Bylsma was asked how he and his team were dealing with the emotional letdown as well as the physical absence of Staal from the roster. He didn't really have much in the way of new information regarding that situation. Something of note though was his belief that the game in Dallas in which the Pens put forth a somewhat lackluster performance could be attributed to the disappointment of Staal's reinjury on the eve of the game in which he was to return to the lineup.
Coach Bylsma then took the opportunity to say that despite finishing the road trip with only the one win, the attitude he saw from his team in their comeback attempts and refusal to quit and give up on a game was something that he felt very encouraged by. He mentioned that he could see the confidence growing in the Anaheim game to the point that "everyone on the bench believed they were going to get that tying goal" before ultimately falling just short. He said that was partly due to the strong play of the Duck's goaltender.
The last question of the day was regarding the HBO 24/7 series preview that's set to air on HBO on November 20th. Coach Bylsma mentioned that he believes the series is going to be "excellent tv", but also that he's caught himself second guessing some of the things he's done around the rink, saying "it's given me pause for thought, wondering 'would have done that if the camera was around?'". He also mentioned that the coaches have a challenge going to try and keep the profanity down while the show is going on. Each coach has to pay a dollar for every time they swear at the rink. I'd love to know who finally gets that large lump sum at the end of all this. He said that himself, along with Coach Reirden have been the biggest contributors by far, saying that Coach Granato learned pretty early to keep it in check. Coach Bylsma said that he doesn't want his son to look back in a few years and see how much his dad swore at the rink. Admirable.
That was all for Coach Dan. Overall it was an interesting interview. With all the panic you hear around the Penguins fan base, it was refreshing to hear the Head Coach exude some confidence about his team's play of late, even if it hasn't yet shown up on the scoreboard.
If anybody else heard the interview and has anything to add that I overlooked or just plain forgot, then please add a comment!