Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith has missed practice with an injury
Pittsburgh Penguins backup goalie Casey DeSmith missed practice Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena with an undisclosed injury.
His status for Wednesday’s home game against the Calgary Flames at PPG Paints Arena is unclear, but coach Mike Sullivan called DeSmith’s absence from Tuesday’s practice session a precaution.
In Sunday’s 5-3 road win against the Chicago Blackhawks, DeSmith made 29 saves on 32 shots.
In eight games this season, DeSmith has a 3-4-1 record, a 2.88 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Hennes gets the promotion
Penguins assistant coach Ty Hennes (center) joined the team in 2018.
The Penguins promoted Ty Hennes to assistant coach on Tuesday.
Hennes had served as the team’s skating and skill development coach the previous four seasons.
It is unclear how Hennes’ duties will change in his new role or if there will be a replacement for his previous position. In his former capacity, Hennes was regularly involved in helping injured players regain their conditioning as well as all training sessions.
Four against four work
In 19 games this season, Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson has nine assists.
Less than 48 hours after the Penguins gave up a four-on-four goal in Sunday’s game, they spent part of Tuesday’s practice focusing on that scenario.
“Some of the strategies (for something) that don’t happen very often anymore,” Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson said in explaining what happened in Monday’s four-on-four drills. “To (iron) some details. We had a lot of it in training camp, but we got punished for it in Chicago.”
Pettersson was caught in no man’s land in the sequence that led to Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scoring his team’s second goal during a somewhat rare four-on-four sequence in the second period. After a cycle from the Penguins’ right corner, Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews set up Kane to score from the right above the crease. Pettersson left Kane to defend Toews, only to see the two connect on a pass setting up the goal.
“It’s right between a three-on-three and a five-on-five, right?” Pettersson said. “Normally, with three-on-three, you go more man-to-man. But in four on four, it’s the same but it’s not. We just talk about strategies with how we talk out there or communicate when we want to stay with a guy or change. It’s good to go over those details and keep everyone on the same page.”
The need to practice four-on-four scenarios has been on Sullivan’s to-do list for a while, but with limited practice time, it wasn’t a top priority, at least not until they gave up that target on Kane.
“It’s very different,” Sullivan said in describing how four-on-four is different from the five-on-five game. “It all depends on what system you play. There are a few teams that play tough man-to-man five-on-five. For those teams, it’s probably no different. It’s hard to play in any zone system.
“The fewer bodies you have on the ice, the harder it is to play more zone versus man-to-man systems. There are always man-to-man elements associated with defense. At the end of the day, it really comes down to that at any given time . There are support mechanisms built into certain zone systems that can be beneficial. But the fewer guys you have on the ice, the harder it is because you lose opportunities for layers or numbers. There is a difference in the way you defend four-on-four ( o) three-on-three versus five-on-five It happens enough in a game that it’s an area where we feel we need to continue to improve.
“This is one of the reasons why we practiced it today. We will continue to look for opportunities to try to get them (reps) in practice. The hard part as a coaching staff is that you’re always trying to prioritize the precious practice time you have. When you look at the nature of the schedule, sometimes you play so many games, the schedule gets condensed. You may not have the opportunity to get to certain things that you would like just because of the reality of logistics. That’s something that’s been on our radar for a while as a coaching staff.”
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