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It's A Great Day for Hockey - June 6

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.

1:33 PM:
Here are some quick notes from Penguins coach Dan Bylsma from his post-morning skate press conference:

On the active boards at Joe Louis Arena:
"Again, it's not something new. There are other buildings that are like this one here, and it's pretty standard for us to talk about the bounces and the situations you'll see in a game or practice it in morning skate or talk about it in terms of pucks going wide on the power play and being ready for those situations.So this is not the only rink. It's not a new twist or turn that's unique to this situation. But we certainly will talk about it more than once today."

On Datsyuk playing Detroit's power play:
"I don't think it changes how we attack the penalty kill. It's just you're aware of certain players skill set, and what they do and what they do well. So, again, if you have Dan Bylsma on the halfwall or Pavel Datsyuk, you worry a lot more about 13. So you have to be aware of what his strengths are and what he can do. And we've been preparing for him like he was going to play for a couple of games now. So if he's out there tonight, we'll be ready for what he brings. Hopefully we can keep him in check."

On the play of Brooks Orpik:
"Well, Brooks Orpik is a guy that I think a lot of teams are looking for that element in their defensive corps where a guy who can skate well and punish the other team's skill players in the offensive zone. And he does that repeatedly. He's a physical presence every night. And guys know when he's out there, and you know, I think as his game has improved last year and this year with his positioning and being patient, letting the game come to him and still getting those hits and being a factor that way. I think his game continues to improve. So he adds that physical element with a guy who can skate with the best the opposition has to offer. That's a huge asset for us. And something I think the other teams are aware of."

1:25 PM:
Marc-Andre Fleury reminisced about his spectacular 55-save, triple-overtime victory in last year's Game 5 in Detroit and if he'd like to repeat the feat.
"That would be great. We got the win and that’s all that matters. That was last year. We have to start over again, start from scratch and try to get the win."

12:08 PM:
The Penguins finished their morning skate with little new developments. The lines haven't changed and nothing of note occurred on the ice. Just another playoff morning skate.

11:49 AM:
Here are some quick notes from Babcock's press conference:

On Datsyuk:
"But, two things, in the morning skate or in the practice, you never know what adrenaline's going to do. He seems to be that he's tolerating it now. I watched him in the skate, I mean, he doesn't look like Pavel. And yet in saying that, when the puck's dropped, tonight I've seen a lot of that over the years. So we're excited that he's excited."

On playing Datsyuk on wing:
"We're going to start him that way, and we're going to see how he does. If he looks like himself, he'll be in the middle. We need that checking center back, I think somebody called him that the other day."

On Cleary and Rafalski missing the morning skate:
"Cleary and Raf didn't skate, both are supposed to play. Abby (Justin Abdelkader) had a bit of the flu, so I think those guys are all available here for tonight. And we'll make decisions at game time."

On if his team is nervous for tonight's game:
"No, I think they've been through it. But before the game tonight like any athlete, there's always a little bit of nerves. I don't think that's a bad thing, I think that's a great thing. If you didn't have that, number one, it wouldn't be as much fun to play. And number two, you wouldn't be as good as you're capable of being. I think those things all help you a little bit.

"The other thing is the reason you play these games and the reason I think you cover sport is to be involved in the big events. Well, here's a big event right here today. You want to be good, be good."


11:35 AM:
The Penguins are on the ice for their morning skate at Joe Louis Arena.

11:32 AM:
First it was Bill Cowher in the Carolina series. Now another former Pittsburgh coach/manager is being pulled into the NHL playoffs. Former Pirates manager Jim Leyland is being pulled into the Stanley Cup Final. But unlike Cowher, he is a little more diplomatic in his approach.

"That's a no-win situation," Leyland told the Detroit News. "I hope the best team wins. Whoever plays the best deserves to win. If it's the Red Wings, fine. If it's the Penguins, fine."

11:23 AM:
Babcock said that Cleary and Rafalski are OK and available to play in tonight's Game 5 showdown, despite that both missed the team's morning skate. He also said that he may play Pavel Datsyuk at wing for some of the game.

11:20 AM:
Rob Rossi wrote a good article today in the Tribune-Review on Evgeni Malkin's parents.

11:12 AM:
The Red Wings finished their morning skate at Joe Louis Arena Saturday morning. The team has left the ice and the media have entered their locker room for pre-game availability. Coach Mike Babcock will be holding his post-skate press conference shortly.

Dan Cleary and Brian Rafalski were the only Detroit players of note that did not skate.

The zambonis are cleaning the ice for the Penguins, who will hold their morning skate today at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Sam Kasan

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