PITTSBURGH -- A silver trophy engraved with names of champions greeted the Pittsburgh Penguins as they entered their locker room following a morning skate Thursday.
It was not the Stanley Cup, however. The United States Golf Association's U.S. Open Championship Trophy sat on a table in the front of Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center locker room, surrounded by several players kneeling to get a close look.
Defensemen Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin and Trevor Daley were the first to admire the trophy, carefully handled by a USGA representative wearing surgical gloves. They took about a minute to examine it before turning toward their locker stalls, which neighbor each other, while chatting about the 2016 U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-19 at Oakmont Country Club, located about 15 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
"I'm a big golf guy," Dumoulin said. "I like watching. I'm a cart guy. I'm not really a good golfer. I like to get out there though. … That's the first time I've ever seen it up close. I've seen it on TV when they hand it to the winner, but it's cool to see. It looks like a little Stanley Cup with the names engraved and stuff like that, so it's pretty cool to see."
Video: Several Penguins players pose with U.S. Open trophy
As they sat at their lockers, Daley asked multiple times if Tiger Woods is expected to play in June, but never got a clear answer. The Penguins received hats showcasing the 2016 U.S. Open logo and continued to discuss the tournament as more players filtered in and stopped to view the trophy.
Oakmont, a notoriously challenging course, will host its ninth U.S. Open and 12th major championship.
Pittsburgh held an optional morning skate before its game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, FS-CR, ROOT, NHL.TV).
Names like Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Woods were mentioned as a few of the Penguins' favorite golfers currently on tour. Dumoulin said he tends to appreciate the younger golfers while Schultz enjoys McIlroy because "he hits the long ball and he's fun to watch."
Video: Several Carolina players pose with U.S. Open trophy
Schultz said the Penguins weren't told the trophy would be in the locker room Thursday, and he was taken aback upon entering.
"I wasn't expecting that. That's unreal," Schultz said. "It's pretty cool to see it up close. You always see it on TV. To see the names on the trophy who have won it, that's pretty cool. … Hopefully we're still playing hockey here and can catch a few rounds."
That would be welcome news for the Penguins, but not only because they'd get a chance to watch championship golf. If they were still playing during the U.S. Open in mid-June, it would mark a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and potentially the Stanley Cup Final, which would be more than fine with Schultz.
"It'd be perfect."