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It's A Great Day for Playoff Hockey - Apr. 17

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.


1:36 PM:
Every NHL team creates a playoff shirt for the players to wear in the dressing room. For instance, the Flyers' shirts have the Stanley Cup on the back with the phrase: "32 Teams, 16 Left, 1 Dream."

The Penguins motto this year is "Are ya hungry?" Those words scrawl across the back but there is an interesting look one of the sleeves. Pictured is the skull logo from the comic book character the Punisher.
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1:17 PM:
Maxime Talbot was coy with reporters today. The media was trying to get Talbot to react to the one-game suspension to Daniel Carcillo. Talbot, however, wouldn't take the bait.

Reporter: What did you think of the one-game suspension?

Talbot: Nothing.

Reporter: Would you have deserved a one-game suspension if you had been guilty of that act?

Talbot: Yeah. If the game was 4-1 for the other team I think so. That was boring TV, eh?

Reporter: Did you think the judment was fair?

Talbot: It's OK.

Reporter: You know exactly what to say.

Talbot: Yeah, I know (grinning).
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1:09 PM:
While defensemen Randy Jones and Kimmo Timonen were not on the ice and are fighting through injuries, Stevens expects them to ready to shoulder their normal workload come game time:

"Timonen’s getting a day of rest there and I think he will be fine. He’s feeling better today and I expect him to be a player that plays in all of the situations that he normally does.

I just spoke with Randy before I came here. He just went to the hotel and he is going to get some rest and he said he is ready to go."
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12:54 PM:
Matt Cooke kept his composure after taking a stick to the face against the Flyers in Game 1. His nose was dripping with blood and no penalty was called. But Cooke skated to the bench and didn't retaliate or take a penalty himself.

Bylsma gave him credit for keeping his emotions in check. Cooke was asked about keeping his composure today in the locker room:

"(Keeping cool) would have taken me longer in a regular-season game because I was bleeding pretty bad and was frustrated the referees didn't see it. It's the playoffs and you have to make sacrifices to have success. I had to go out and kill a penalty right after that so I had to quickly reset my focus."
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12:46 PM:
Flyers coach John Stevens had a good answer to the question of his $10,000 fine at his press conference today.

"Fist of all, I had to call my son this morning. My son John turned 15 today and I told him I had to take all of his gifts back because I can’t afford them anymore and he is a little upset."

Stevens had this to say on his decision to put Daniel Carcillo on the ice for the final faceoff.

"That situation, obviously discipline was an issue in that game. They had a five-on-three (advantage) and, from my perspective on the bench, it looked like Gurin bullrushed Coburn. Coburn is a character kid. He fights for his team and he’ll stand up for himself, and I’m not surprised he did in that situation. Billy Guerin is a tough, gritty guy. My interpretation of that at that point was, I thought Guerin is probably thinking he is going to play against Coburn a lot in the series and maybe send a message so I put Danny (Carcillo) out there.

"The faceoff was in the neutral zone and I didn’t want anybody taken advantage of, I didn’t want anything stupid happening here and let’s just get through the six seconds left in the game. That was my thinking and I was a little surprised to see a fight that late in the game when they’re up five-on-three, especially with Coburn involved. So my thinking as a coach at that point is, let’s just get somebody out there that’s not going to get taken advantage of and get through the six seconds. Obviously it didn’t turn out that way and the league acted on it. Just like the Flyers always do, we take our punishment and we move on. That’s that. Obviously the standard has been set and I would like to see some consistency on that call the rest of the way."
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12:10 PM:
The Flyers held an optional morning skate that only 11 of their players attended. Those who participated were forwards Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, Jared Ross, Darroll Powe and Daniel Carcillo, defensemen Luca Sbisa, Ryan Parent, Matt Carle and Andrew Alberts and goaltenders Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki.

One interesting aspect is that the centerman worked extensively on taking faceoffs. Philadelphia won only 38 percent of its faceoffs in the game (21 out of 59).
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11:48 AM:
Bylsma was quiet, again, on his lineup at the post-practice press conference:
"I think that we can be pretty confident for the rest of the playoffs that those will be game-time decisions."
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10:40 AM:
The rest of the lines were pretty standard:
Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Fedotenko-Malkin-Sykora
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Satan/Dupuis-Talbot-Godard/Adams

The defensemen operated their normal seven-man rotation.
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10:38 AM:
Forwards Eric Godard and Craig Adams rotated on the fourth line at the Pens morning skate at Mellon Arena Friday afternoon. I wonder if Bylsma will dress Godard as an equalizer to the Flyers attempt to play bully.

By the way, it's very, very, very cold at Mellon Arena today for the Pens morning skate. The theory goes that since it is warm outside, the AC get pumped up to keep the ice sharp for the game. Not sure why that information is important but I thought I would add it. 
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9:44 AM:
The word of the day for the Flyers is "discipline." Following the fallout from Carcillo's suspension and coach Steven's fine, Philadelphia is talking about playing smarter hockey.

Also, Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote today that the Flyers need to change their behavior and shed their current reputation.
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9:41 AM:
It looks like Flyers rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa, who played a few games this season as a forward, will replace suspended Daniel Carcillo in Game 2 tonight on the fourth line.

Author: Sam Kasan

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