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It's A Great Day for Hockey - June 11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
It's a Great Day for Playoff Hockey will be tracking the Penguins' Stanley Cup quest with constant updates throughout the postseason.

5:11 PM:
The quote of the day belongs to defenseman Brooks Orpik. Orpik was asked by a member of the media, "What makes you think you can win at Joe Louis Arena when you guys haven't yet this series?"

Orpik's reply: "What makes you think we can't? Give me a good reason why we can't."

Enough said.

5:00 PM:
Here are a few quick quotes from the team today:

Head coach Dan Bylsma
On his pre-game speech:
“I don't know what I'm going to say. That's something I usually do in the afternoon of a game. I certainly have thought about it, and I've been forced to think about it when I have questions like that. But I think the Herb Brooks speech happens many years later after the game is over, and after a team has won.”

On Petr Sykora’s injury:
“He's injured and (we’re) evaluating. This is the time of year where if this was Game 40, he wouldn't be (playing)   we wouldn't be looking to see how good he can get by tomorrow morning, but we're still waiting to see on that.”
On why the team practiced in Pittsburgh today and not in Detroit:
“Specifically we talked about it. Having played here three times, three morning skates, I didn't think a seventh time or be an eighth time, because we'll get tomorrow morning, was going to show us one thing about the boards that we didn't already know or about the bench or about the dressing room. There were factors in why I thought staying home would give us a better chance to be more focused and more prepared or in our routine.”

Captain Sidney Crosby
“On if he thinks about what it would be like to hoist the Cup:
I think you try to push them aside. For me personally, that's the way I look at it. You know, you want to approach it as much as you can like a normal game. And it's probably a lot easier said than done. But it's so important to focus on what you have to do out there. Whether I look at the last game we're facing elimination, you don't think, what if they win here. You can't think like that.”

On if he’ll give the team a pre-game motivational speech:
“No, I don't think we need it at this point (smiling). We've been through so much as a team, especially this year. But, you know, even guys who have been on the team for a while now, even longer than me, there's been a lot of things everyone's gone through both as a group and individually to get to this point. We've all dreamed of having this opportunity, so I don't think there's much that needs to be said.”

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar
On the importance of winning the Cup:
“Obviously, I'm very fortunate my body responded the right way, and I'm playing right now. Growing up in Russia, you know, obviously you're never dreaming about NHL at that time. The only thing that you're really dreaming about probably is a world championship in the Olympic Games. And at that time not many Russians were in the NHL. But when I got here I realized how important it is for everybody. Now I've been in the NHL for so many years, now it's probably a main goal for me as a professional hockey player to win a Cup.”

Ruslan Fedotenko

On if he’ll address the team before Game 7
“Oh, for sure. I will have my moment, and I will talk to the team before the game. But, you know, I think I want to keep it between the teammates and myself right now, so I wouldn't want to say too much right now in the press.”

4:12 PM:
The Penguins flight touched down in Detroit and the team hopped on a bus headed for their hotel. Head coach Dan Bylsma and players Sidney Crosby, Ruslan Fedotenko and Sergei Gonchar held press conferences with the media already gathered in Detroit. The rest of the team made their way to their rooms for some rest and relaxation.

12:36 PM:
The Penguins practiced for a little over an hour in their final off-day practice of the season earlier today. The team finished its post-practice media session and is headed to the airport. Destination: Detroit. We'll have some post-practice comments up once we land in the Motor City.

10:28 AM:
Here are a couple photos of die hard Penguins fans who are currently serving in Logar, Afghanistan.

The crew wakes up each morning at 4 a.m. just to watch the Penguins in action, and they were kind enough to send us their pics.

"We just wanted to wish the Pens good luck from Afghanistan for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. GO PENS!" wrote CPT Jordan Settle of Pennsylvania.

From left to right: CW2 John Fleshman from North Carolina, CPT Settle and CPT Justin Oshana of Pennsylvania. The men are members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division halfway through their one-year deployment.

The Penguins organization is honored to have their support and wish these brave soldiers the best as they serve and defend our country.

(photos courtesy of Jordan Settle)

8:00 AM:
The Penguins will hold a 10:30 a.m. practice at Mellon Arena before heading off to Detroit in preparation for Friday night's Game 7 Stanley Cup Final showdown. It will be the final regular practice of the 2008-09 season. 

Pittsburgh will hold a morning skate Friday before taking on the Red Wings in the dramatic winner-takes-all, do-or-die contest. 

7:30 AM:
Pittsburgh's AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Baby Penguins, are hosting a viewing party for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Lucky's Sporthouse, on Schecter Drive in Wilkes-Barre, beginning at 7 p.m. 

Author: Sam Kasan

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