PITTSBURGH (AP) -A road jersey was hung neatly in every locker stall. Brand new sticks and a fully loaded travel bag also were ready for each player when the Pittsburgh Penguins arrived at Mellon Arena.
It's a normal mid-May scene for a team that's appeared in 10 playoff series in three seasons. There was only one difference: The Penguins were packing up for the summer, rather than for the next round of the playoffs.
That's what made saying goodbye unusually difficult, even for the Penguins players who will return next season. For most, it was one last visit Friday to their Mellon Arena dressing room before they relocate across the street to the Consol Energy Center next season.
For now, putting this season and the seven-game loss to Montreal in the Eastern Conference semifinals behind them will take a little longer. They're no longer the Stanley Cup champions, they're former champions.