PITTSBURGH - Cleaning out the notebook
The Pittsburgh Penguins were generally pleased with the NHL's realignment plan.
They should be.
The Penguins get to keep their traditional rivals like the Philadelphia Flyers, and they also add Washington and Carolina.
The travel within the division remains fairly easy, and fan interest will remain high as the hostilities continue with familiar foes.
One new wrinkle in the overall schedule includes a home-and-home with every team, which will add to travel.
But some of the players surveyed see that as a fair trade-off for the good of the game.
"From the fans' perspective, I think it's good that everybody gets to see Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin every year, rather than the teams in the West only getting to see those superstars every other year," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "If you're a fan, that's probably not the best thing. You want to see those guys every year.
"I think the players enjoy playing in every building in every year, not just every other year. That was definitely a win from the players' side."
The Penguins and Flyers will meet six times in the regular season.
Then the possibility exists they could play another seven games in a playoff series.
"When I was growing up, that's the way it was," winger Craig Adams said. "It was always Calgary vs. Edmonton or Calgary vs. Vancouver. It's exciting. It's exciting for the fans.
"A lot of the rivalries we have today go back to those days when you always played those teams in the playoffs."
Coach Dan Bylsma thinks that having a road game against every opponent will add to travel with more western trips. The Penguins visit the western time zone just twice this season, and both of those trips have been completed.
"In terms of our conference, you have some rivalries are preserved, and we even add to that now with Washington," Byslma said. "It will be even heightened by playing within your conference for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
"You're going to see a lot of the same match-ups and rivalries happening in close proximity in the playoffs. That's going to make for some pretty entertaining and pretty exciting match-ups for the years that it goes forward."
Big, bad Bruins
The Boston Bruins came to town last week and rolled over the Penguins, beating them 3-1 to extend their unbeaten streak to 14-0-1.
Bylsma and his staff prepared for the game by reviewing video of the Bruins. What they saw on the ice was a continuation of that.
"It was real evident to see how they could be 14-0-1," Bylsma said. "They played well, they were physical, they dictated. They got to the offensive zone and were around our net. They have four lines. Their penalty kill is good.
"That was exactly what we expected. You can see why they've been able to win that many games in a row. If you do that, you're putting yourself as playing the best hockey, the best team in the east right now."
The Penguins' defensive corps has become so depleted that they need replacements for the replacements.
Rookie Robert Bertuzzo sustained a concussion in Thursday night's game at Philadelphia.
He had been summoned from the minor leagues because Kris Letang (concussion), Zbynek Michalek (concussion), Deryk Engelland (lower body injury) have recently left the lineup.
Ben Lovejoy (broken wrist) and Brian Strait (hyper extended elbow) were already on injured reserve.
When someone jokingly suggested assistant coach Todd Reirden could be pressed into service, Bylsma smiled and said, "That's being considered."
It's been a serious run of injuries at one position, but it's not unprecedented.
In November 2009, the Penguins had defensemen Sergei Gonchar, Letang, Orpik and Alex Goligoski all out at the same time. That was right after Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill had left as free agents.
The Penguins raided their minor league system for reinforcements. Engelland was one of those who got his first chance to play in the NHL at that time.
Another inside look
After the popularity of HBO's "24/7" look behind the scenes, the Penguins have authorized almost-all access for a crew shooting for the team website.
The first installment of "In The Room" is now available at www.pittsburghpenguins.com.
Deck the halls
Demolition crews are stripping the steel panels from the roof of the Civic Arena, peeling the old dome like an orange.
Wendell August Forge is turning those old panels into commemorative Christmas tree ornaments. The deadline for ordering is Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The Penguins report more than 40,000 ornaments have already been ordered. They anticipated selling 6,000.
This new wave of orders won't be filled for another eight to 12 weeks, so think Christmas 2012 if you order.
They're $29 and available exclusively at pittsburghpenguinsfoundation.org.