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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins shrug off Alfredsson's remarks

PITTSBURGH -- Not surprisingly, the comments made by Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the aftermath of Game 4 were still a primary topic of discussion 36 hours later on the morning of Game 5.

After absorbing a 7-3 shellacking in Game 4 Wednesday, on home ice, no less, Alfredsson was asked if he could see his team winning three straight games to wriggle free of the elimination situation they now face for the duration of this best-of-7 series, starting Friday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

His answer sent shockwaves across the province of Ontario and many other hockey-mad communities across North America.

"Probably not," Alfredsson said in the Ottawa dressing room Wednesday night. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, you know, it doesn't look too good."

Many saw that statement as a concession speech of sorts from the Ottawa leader. Others saw it as a motivational ploy. Alfredsson has since tried to clarify his comment but has not backed off it.

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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins likely to stick with same lineup in Game 5

PITTSBURGH -- It does not appear Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is going to mess with a good thing.

Judging from line rushes during the morning skate Friday in preparation for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), it appears the Penguins will ice the same lineup that dominated the final 40 minutes of Game 4 Wednesday in Ottawa.

The biggest questions revolved around forward Brenden Morrow, who missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, and forward Chris Kunitz, who barely played in the third period of Game 4.

They were on the ice Friday morning at Consol Energy Center. Kunitz took a regular turn on his normal line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Morrow was relegated to the collection of extra forwards during the line rushes.

Morrow said he felt good during the skate and that his participation in Game 5 would be a game-time decision, but it appears Bylsma will stay with veteran Jussi Jokinen and rookie Beau Bennett, each of whom joined Craig Adams on a reconstituted fourth line.

Here is how the Penguins lined up at the morning skate:

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 7:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Letang, Adams in lineup for Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins created a bit of intrigue Friday morning at the morning skate when neither top defenseman Kris Letang nor checking forward Craig Adams took the ice for the 35-minute session. But both were on the ice for the pre-game warmups and dressed for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators.

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 12:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Bylsma supports MacLean as Jack Adams winner

PITTSBURGH -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean is one of the finalists for the Jack Adams Award, joining Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks in contention for the NHL's coach of the year award.

The coach MacLean is facing in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins head man Dan Bylsma, said he believes MacLean might be the most-deserving of the finalists.

"He deserves it," Bylsma said Friday morning before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. "I wasn't casting a vote, but certainly what he's done, you talk about last year coming into an Ottawa Senators team that he didn't know what to expect or where they would be at, he did a great job last year.

"But this year, different challenges for his team and group and they've dealt with some injuries and still consistently been a good hockey team without some of their key guys and with some of their key guys, and I would have cast a vote for him as well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 11:50 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Letang, Adams not present for Pens' morning skate

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins created a bit of intrigue Friday morning at their morning skate when neither top defenseman Kris Letang nor checking forward Craig Adams took the ice for the 35-minute session.

Their status for Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center is unknown.

There was no reason provided for the absences, but it should be noted each took part in a long -- and high-paced -- practice Thursday.

"The people on the ice this morning and our injuries are a non-discussion," coach Dan Bylsma said after the morning skate.

With Letang missing, Mark Eaton slid into the rotation on the blue line. Forward Jussi Jokinen took Adams' spot. Each played in the first-round victory against the New York Islanders before being replaced by injured players returning to the lineup.

This is how the Penguins looked during the morning skate:

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:55 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Bylsma pleased by Penguins setting physical tone

PITTSBURGH -- Dan Bylsma doesn't buy the NHL stats that say his Pittsburgh Penguins significantly out-hit the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center.

The League's official stat sheet said Pittsburgh enjoyed a 40-26 advantage in hits in Game 1. It's not that Bylsma doesn't believe the disparity, he just doesn't care about what the Senators did. Wednesday, Bylsma said his team keeps its own stats on the checks delivered by the Penguins but don't track hits by the opposition.

He added that the numbers don't matter in the end. It is more about the tone set -- and he liked the tone his team set with its physical bite in Game 1.

"I think we had significantly more hits in first period than the rest of the game," Bylsma said. "I kind of like how we came out and played on our toes in the first, and played in the offensive zone and were at least able to get to our game -- especially in the first half of that period."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

With extra off day between games, Penguins rest up

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't do much on Wednesday, the morning after a convincing 4-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The players who did not play in the game -- the Black Aces -- took part in a short, but crisp practice. They were joined by defenseman Deryk Engelland, who returned to the defensive rotation in Game 1, and Craig Adams, the fourth-line center. Evgeni Malkin also took a quick twirl, but did not wear full pads.

However, that doesn't mean the Penguins didn't get anything done.

Most importantly, said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, the team got a chance to rest a bit by staying off the ice. Instead, the team met in the morning, watched a little video and talked about points they want to stress in Game 2 on Friday.


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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 7:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Penguins without Neal, Orpik in Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Forward James Neal and defenseman Brooks Orpik are not in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.

Neal was injured early in the second period of Game 1 on Wednesday. He appeared to injure his ankle after a heavy hit by defenseman Travis Hamonic along the side wall during a Pittsburgh power play. Orpik hasn't played since suffering a lower-body injury April 23. He skated with the team during each of its past two practice sessions.
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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby to play for Penguins in Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Friday morning he will play in Game 2 of the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Friday night against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

"I'm cleared to play," Crosby said following the team's morning skate. "I'm excited to get back in there and play in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

Coach Dan Bylsma did not confirm Crosby will be in the lineup for Game 2, refusing to provide any update on injuries or lineup changes. But both the player and the team's website said he will be in the lineup.

It will be Crosby's first game since sustaining a broken jaw during a game March 30. He began skating on his own April 15 and started skating with the team April 26.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 4:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Capuano likes Islanders' attitude after tough Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- The day after, there were few signs there would be lingering effects from the dispiriting 5-0 loss the New York Islanders suffered less than 16 hours earlier to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

It was a loose group that showed up Thursday afternoon for a short, but spirited, practice at Consol Energy Center.

"You got to have spirited practices," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We have a good bunch of young guys on our hockey club and that is how we have gone about our business all year. You could see the emotion they had today and the fun they had today. That is what you have to do. There's going to be surges and there's going to be momentum playing against a good team, like I said, but you want to make sure the guys stay relaxed.

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres