Impeccable timing to film struggling Pens

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:23 PM ET

The HBO cameras are picking a good time to arrive in Pittsburgh.

The cable network will start filming early next week for the documentary about the runup to the Winter Classic, and there's a chill in the air in the Steel City where the Pens were 7-8-1 going into Friday night's game against Tampa.

Rumblings are some players aren't happy with the way coach Dan Bylsma has handled No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who's off to a rough start. A story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which quoted captain Sidney Crosby saying his friend Fleury needed to play, was interpreted as Crosby being at odds with Bylsma.

"(Fleury)'s going to have good games," Crosby said. "It's not like he can change overnight. He's going to put strings of games together, and he can't do that with one game. So, you've got to be patient, too, and let him get back there.

"With a goalie, you've got to give him time. He's got to play four or five games, maybe, to prove that, but to sit here and question his psyche doesn't really give him a chance."

There has been talk of owner Mario Lemieux being around the dressing room lately, which usually happens only when issues need to be sorted out.

If they really are going to open things up for the HBO cameras and Fleury and the Penguins continue to struggle, it could make for some compelling viewing.

Oh, HBO folks: Make sure you get lots of defenceman Brooks Orpik.

After the Penguins melted down against Boston Wednesday night, here's what Orpik had to say: "Part of the problem is we're not playing to the situation. I mean, why are defencemen playing like forwards when we've got a 4-2 lead -- this is the problem to me.

"We've got enough good forwards here. We don't need our defencemen playing like forwards when we're up 4-2."

HEAR AND THERE

Tampa winger Simon Gagne's string of injuries continues. This one is mysterious. He is still out and undergoing more tests while the team travelled to Washington and Pittsburgh. He is experiencing neck pain and vision problems. He has missed nine games with no return date set ... Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin has signed a deal to promote Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee products. B's fans wonder if Phil Kessel, with no goals in seven games, will get a deal endorsing bagels.

THE BUZZ

A couple of pro scouts who have watched the Los Angeles Kings lately are impressed with how well the club is coached and how the young players are playing with poise. The Kings are fourth in five-on-five scoring and have the league's best penalty killing. Terry Murray has to be an early favourite for Jack Adams Award consideration ... With Claude Giroux now under contract, next up for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is forward Jeff Carter. A long-term deal is in the works ... When the Minnesota Wild visited Atlanta, a couple of U.S. soldiers, who are Wild fans, visited the morning skate. Sgt. Scott Scherbing of Foley, Minn., and Sgt. Daniel Schmitt of St. Paul presented defenceman Brent Burns with a Wild flag they carried on their UH 60 Blackhawk "Dustoff" helicopter during every mission while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Schmitt, a flight medic, drafted Burns and defensive defenceman Nick Schultz for his fantasy team. "You must be in last place," Schultz said. Told Schmitt's league includes blocked shots, Schultz said, "Do you get a bonus if I lose teeth because I just lost three?"

JUST SAYING

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville sat down Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith for the last five minutes of their 2-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. Keith is struggling and led the league in turnovers (28) going into Friday's games. Quenneville has split up Keith and partner Brent Seabrook for Saturday's game against Nashville. Keith is now with Nick Boynton and Seabrook with Niklas Hjalmarsson.

JUST WONDERING

If the Leafs are a bus, as GM Brian Burke said, and he drives the bus into the ditch, does that make Nazem Kadri a tow truck?

PARTING SHOT

There's still no love lost between San Jose defenceman Dan Boyle and former Tampa owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, whose fingerprints were all over Boyle being traded after signing a big deal with the Bolts. Boyle's happy to see the Lightning enjoying better days; especially with new ownership. Said Boyle: "They got rid of the poison at the top."

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