Notebook: Therrien ‘thrilled’ by Penguins’ commitment
With the Penguins nowhere near the playoffs and the focus on the future of the franchise, general manager Craig Patrick is loading up the Baby Penguins for their playoff drive.
And coach Michel Therrien couldn’t be happier.
“Of course we’re thrilled,” Therrien said. “It’s a great commitment by the Penguins. They want to make sure, first, we make the playoffs, then have a long run in the playoffs, try to give good experience to our young players.”
Goaltender Andy Chiodo, defenseman Rob Scuderi and forward Matt Murley were sent to the Baby Penguins on Tuesday, and defenseman Brooks Orpik, goaltender Sebastien Caron and forwards Konstantin Koltsov and Tom Kostopoulos will join them after the Penguins’ season ends.
“I think it will be a great roster, but at the same time, I kind of feel bad for the guys here,” Scuderi said upon joining the team in Norfolk, Va. “They’ve been playing so well. I guess it’s the trickle-down effect. They’ve been carrying the team. For the month I’ve been gone, they’ve been unbelievable.
“But hopefully, with this roster, we can do some damage in the playoffs. That’s what we want to do.”
The Baby Penguins (27-24-7-5) went into last night’s game in Norfolk just three points behind the Admirals for third place in the East Division. The top five teams in the division make the playoffs, with the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds playing each other in a best-of-three lightning round.
Veteran forward Kelly Buchberger went almost a year between NHL points, but relief finally came in the form of a second assist on Mike Eastwood’s goal on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars. His last point was on March 26, 2003, while with the Phoenix Coyotes. But coach Eddie Olczyk said it’s not about goals and assists when it comes to Buchberger.
“Yeah, (the point drought) has been a while and it’s been tough for him,” Olczyk said. “But he’s a true professional in every sense of the word. He’s not measured in points as far as the coaching staff is concerned.
“What about the nights he took on some of the toughest guys in the league because he felt that’s what needed to be doneâ¢ You’re talking about leadership. It doesn’t matter the outcome, and again, it’s about building and teaching, making impressions. He’s pretty much done everything.”
The Penguins were scheduled to practice yesterday, but were given the day off after Tuesday night’s victory over Dallas. … Left wing Lasse Pirjeta played 9:40 and was even with no shots on goal in his Penguins debut. … The Penguins are 3-0 with forward Jon Sim in the lineup.
“Payroll was not a factor this year. We took care of that a long time ago.”
Karen Price is a former freelancer.