I was talking with my good friend Danny Kroll, one of the Pens equipment managers, before the morning skate. He actually ended up going over to Fenway Park yesterday when we landed and took some pics of the historic ballpark (which he told me turns 100 this year - April 20, to be exact). Danny was kind enough to send a pic...--Michelle Crechiolo
Michelle did all the hard work from Boston while I had the easy job of wrapping it all up in the Game Day Report. --Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the visitors locker room...Sidney CrosbyOn if he has a follow-up to Mike Milbury’s comments:
No, not really. I don’t have to get into that. I don’t know if he’s looking for attention or what. I don’t have much to say there. I really don’t know where that came from. You can really twist something a certain way and he’s shown he’s more than capable at doing that. He’s pretty good at twisting things around, that’s for sure.On feeling comfortable with contact after coming back from a concussion:
That’s been the case. I don’t feel like anyone is coming after me any more or less (than usual). I think it’s been pretty much what I experienced prior to getting a concussion. I’ve never said that or made it be known that I feel like guys are coming after me at all. Let’s be honest, guys aren’t going to give me a lot of space. They’re going to try to knock me off my game. It’s been pretty normal as far as what I experienced prior to getting a concussion. The cross check that Schenn had isn’t something that’s out of the blue. That happens pretty much every game to be honest with you. As far as me slashing someone, that’s hockey. I guess I’m not a gentleman out there on the ice sometimes. I will say that. It’s a contact sport and I do get involved sometimes. I don’t think I’ve gotten one penalty in a scrum since I’ve been back. I just wanted to clarify that. Seems that was something that was up for debate.On if his style provokes opponents:
My style isn’t different from a lot of guys. If you look at the way I play the game, I try to create offense to score goals. If you dissect everything and show my responses to certain things sometimes, I do things out there. They’re usually in response to two or three things that were done to me prior to that. You don’t usually see that. You just see the response. If you really know the game, most players are probably going to go out there and try to provoke that stuff to have me retaliate and get off my game. There are times where that does happen. For the most part, if I was that easy to get knocked off my game then guys would do it a little more often. I don’t think that’s been the case.On handling this week:
These are three big games for us. We’re playing three really big hockey teams. We want to make sure that we’re playing really well going into the playoffs. For us three matchups like this is a really good thing. We just want to make sure our game is where it needs to be going into the playoffs. These points are big when you’re talking about positioning in the standings. I think that’s where our mind is at, making sure we’re ready heading into the playoffs. Joe VitaleOn playing in Boston:
It’s good to come back to Boston. I spent four years of college here (at Northeastern). It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great city. I love coming back here anytime I have a chance. I’m excited for tonight.On the Bruins:
They’ve been tough to play against all year. With their recent adjustments there isn’t a lot open in the middle of the ice. I think to penetrate from the outside and get traffic in front of the goalie will be the key for tonight.On managing the week:
Take it one game at a time as cliché as it is. Our focus right now is on Boston. We’ll go from there.On hearing anything from the NHL regarding the Flyers’ game:
I keep my phone on silent. I’m off Facebook and I don’t do Twitter stuff. That’s my philosophy. If the league wanted to contact me they would have. They haven’t so far. I just stay out of it. Jordan StaalOn how they’ll match up with a team so deep down the middle:
The coaches have got to worry about the matchups. We’ve got to focus on our game. I know it’s cliché, but we’ve got to do the things we need to do to win games and just whoever we’re playing against, trying to outwork them and beat the lineup we’re playing against.On his improved numbers in the faceoff:
I’ve been trying to focus on it more. I kind of got away from it a little bit. Faceoffs go up and down a bit. You can get on a roll sometimes. Steve SullivanOn how the Bruins have tightened up defensively:
We’ve got to get pucks deep. We’ve got to try and create as much offensive zone time as possible. Try to tire them out a little bit in our own end. The more tired and the more defense you have to play, that’s when you’re able to create some offensive chances or some holes in the defense. Pressure is definitely going to be the key factor to that.On if the pressure against Turco is different than pressure against Thomas:
I think the only difference we looked at for goaltenders between the two would be stickhandling and puck control. If Turco is in net, you have to be that much more aware of your dump-ins. You have to be that much more precise with where you’re going to place the puck if you’re going to have to dump it in. But besides that, when they’re in between the pipes, you’re trying to shoot the puck where they’re not. --Sam Kasan
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...On his starting goalie:Brent Johnson
will be going in net. The rest of the lineup will be game-time.On why he’s starting Johnson:
Giving Marc-Andre Fleury
rest going into the last week. Brent has played only one game in a long time. To get him back in the net and playing a game so he can have game action as well, but it’s the schedule. Getting Marc-Andre Fleury
some rest heading into the playoffs this last week.On working the scratches into the lineup the last week:
Getting set for the playoffs with our lineup, but at the same time we know some of these guys are going to play for us in the playoffs as well when you play a tough series, which we expect ahead of us. These guys are going to play. In the last week we’ve gotten everyone of those guys in the lineup at least once to get a game in. We gave them consideration in the next three games.On the Bruins:
One of our better defensive games (last time in Boston), five-man unit playing defense, getting pucks out of the defensive zone, through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. Last time in this building it was a real big game. We hadn’t won a lot of games at that point in time against top teams and it was a test against the Bruins, coming in here and winning that hockey game. Our last game at home (against Boston) was another good game for us in a different focus, on the forecheck and in the offensive zone, playing the way we want to play. This is another test against that team. At the time they came into our building they were around .500 for 10 games and now they’ve played much better hockey. They’re on a little bit of a roll and just clinched the division. They’re in a different spot as well. We’re expecting a tough match against their team. --Sam Kasan
A little late, but here are the Pens morning skate pics from TD Garden (which is an especially cold arena)...
Lots of laughs during the stretch, what's so funny, guys?
Fleury working on his stride (left); linemates Malkin and Neal discuss a game plan (right)
Staal (left); Dupuis chewing on some Bubble Yum (right)
Gathered at center ice (left); and in the corner (right)
Heading up ice during a drill (left); Kunitz with perfect form (right)--Michelle Crechiolo
Both coaches confirm their starting goalies tonight. Johnson for Pittsburgh, Turco for Boston.--Michelle Crechiolo
The Pens are working on the power play at both ends of the ice. Letang is working with the top PP unit, while Sullivan is with the second unit. --Michelle Crechiolo
Pens' lines remain the same...
All of the Pens are present and accounted for at morning skate. All 15 forwards, six defensemen (minus Lovejoy, who had knee surgery) and both goalies are on the ice.--Michelle Crechiolo
The Bruins are wrapping up their morning skate at TD Garden. Looks like most of their personnel is on the ice.
Tim Thomas (left); the B's recalled Anton Khudobin from Providence last night (right)
Linemates Patrice Bergeron (left) and Tyler Seguin (right)
Bergeron and Seguin's other liney, Marchand (left); tallest man in the NHL (right)
Coach Claude Julien (left); Gatorade break (right)--Michelle Crechiolo
The Bruins have snapped out of their midseason funk and are playing some of their best hockey heading into the playoffs. They’re 7-1-1 in their last nine and have gotten points in each of their last six (5-0-1). For the scouting report on Boston, click here
– or watch the short version below. --Michelle Crechiolo
Good morning all! It's an absolutely gorgeous day here in Boston, where the Pens will face the Bruins tonight at TD Garden to close out the season series between the two teams. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. on ROOT SPORTS.
Sam was kind enough to let me make this last road trip of the season, which is my first visit ever to this historic city. While I’d love to go around and explore, we usually don’t have time to do much aside from checking out the restaurant scene. So when we got to our hotel, we weren’t sure whether to go to North End for Italian food or to go somewhere with great seafood and of course, New England clam chowder. So we asked the concierge what he recommended, and he sent us to the Union Oyster House – which is not only the oldest restaurant in Boston, but in America (established 1826).
The concierge also told us that the Union Oyster House was where the crew of the movie The Departed ate at all the time during filming. So even though I’ve used this song in a blog already this year, let’s start the day with “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys. It was featured in the movie, plus, it’s just so fitting. Enjoy. --Michelle Crechiolo