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It's A Great Day for Hockey - May 1

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.

6:19 PM:
We'll wrap the blog up here. We are approx. 18-plus hours from puck drop in the most anticipated series in recent NHL history. Let's go Pens!

6:07 PM:
Bylsma answered the same batch of questions from the media for the fifth time in three days: the circus of the series; Sid vs. Ovechkin; hype surrounding series; handling distractions.

One of his replys on the hype: "I think everyone is eager to talk on the ice and quit talking off the ice."


5:10 PM:
Here are a few intriguing mements during the brief media scrums at the hotel:

Guerin on playing in the first NHL game linemate Sidney Crosby ever attended at the age of 4:
"I've stuck around a long time and that's a good feeling."

Gonchar was asked at great length by a reporter about the current influence of Russian players in the NHL:
"Back home (the series) is going to be huge. I've already gotten a few phone calls of people saying they're going to get together and watch those games."

Gonchar on if Russians prefer Ovechkin or Malkin:
"I don't think so. I do believe that people are proud that they're both Russians. They play a different style of hockey and I'm sure they have a different group of fans. But they are both representing their country."

Gonchar on playing in the other corner of the Penguins-Capitals playoff rivalry:
"It's going to be weird. But I left Washington about five years ago so it's been a long time. Since I've been away from the city for five years it's just going to be another exciting series. I grew up here as a player and as a person. I spent nearly 10 years here. I have a lot of good memories. Any time I walk into this building all those memories come up. But I'll forget about it as soon as the game starts."

Gonchar on the Penguins dominance of Washington in the postseason:
"I'm sure it's tough for (Capitals fans). They're looking for revenge and we're looking to keep the tradition going."

4:15 PM:
The team arrived safely in Washington and headed straight to the hotel. A few members of the Washington and national media came to the hotel for a brief media session with Bill Guerin, Sergei Gonchar and Dan Bylsma.

2:15 PM:
Plane announced that we're close for take off. Next stop, Washington, D.C. Let's get there.

12:15 PM:
The hot topics from the media in the locker room today where the same as yesterday: Sid vs. Ovechkin; Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov; the circus and handling the distractions.

11:57 AM:
Craig Adams' son Rhys was in the locker room following practice and Bill Guerin was giving the 20-month-old his best collegiate recruiting pitch.

"I know you're dad went to Harvard so you'll have an in there, but you'll have a lot more fun at BC (Boston College)," Guerin said.

Rhys walked around the room with Marc-Andre Fleury's oversized blocker on his hand (which is bigger than Rhys' head). He then helped Fleury pack his gear into his bag for the trip to Washington to the delight of the netminder.

The Adams family is expecting a new child soon.

11:15 AM:
Two funny moments at Friday's practice. First, Pascal Dupuis delivered a pretty hard check into Sidney Crosby (hard for practice that is) while the Penguins worked on their special teams. Evgeni Malkin raced his teammates side and gave Dupuis a "mock" face wash. All three players had a good laugh.

Then, Tyler Kennedy lost his edge while skating backwards and landed on his rear. The episode ignited a round of laughter and stick taps from his teammates. Kennedy regained his footing and presumed with the drill wearing a big smile on his face.
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