PICKING ON POTASH
One of the best guys in the media business today is ROOT Sports Dan Potash. But his best attribute may be his willingness to be the whipping boy among the Pens players. Somehow he always ends up on the shortend of jokes and pranks. Here is an extended reel of the Pens picking on poor Potash.
SOUNDS HEARD AROUND THE ROOM
THEY SAID IT II
Coach Dan Bylsma said forward Beau Bennett (upper body), defenseman Kris Letang (food poisoning) and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (wife Veronique is expecting their first child) are all in Pittsburgh and not playing tonight.
Tomas Vokoun will be the starting goalie. Rest of the lineup is game-time decision.
Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Evgeni Malkin and Paul Martin all skated back in Pittsburgh.
--Michelle Crechiolo & Sam Kasan
THEY SAID IT
Quotes out of both locker rooms today, starting with the home team...
MORNING SKATE PICS
Matt Cooke took the option to skate
Goalie Eric Hartzell, who signed with the team April 14 - one day after playing in the Frozen Four - is skating
Tomas Vokoun is down at the other end. Fleury did not attend the optional skate
Mac Attack is back!
Jokinen is coming off a two-goal, one-assist performance on Saturday in Boston
Just a little bit of traffic in front of Voky...
Orpik handles the puck
Coach Bylsma hustles up the ice
--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
MORNING SKATE INFO
The players attending Pittsburgh's optional morning skate are forwards Morrow, Jokinen, MacIntyre, Jeffrey, Dupuis, Adams, Glass, Cooke, Sutter and Kennedy; defensemen Orpik, Bortuzzo, Eaton, Engelland, Despres and Niskanen; goalies Vokoun and Hartzell.
The Senators have been able to maintain playoff position all season despite missing star players to long-term injuries. And while center Jason Spezza remains out after undergoing back surgery in January, Karlsson is close and both Milan Michalek and Craig Anderson are back. Last year’s leading goal scorer Michalek, who has missed a total of 24 games this season due to injury, has two goals and three points in four games since returning. Goalie Anderson played April 7 after missing 18 games with a sprained ankle and has won three of his last four starts (the Senators have won four of their last five).
Anderson, who is backed up by Robin Lehner as the team traded Ben Bishop to Tampa Bay for rookie forward Cory Conacher at the deadline, leads the league in both save percentage (.944) and goals against average (1.64). He’s the anchor of a defense that ranks second in the NHL despite losing top defenseman Karlsson. Anderson is also the anchor of what is currently the league’s top-ranked penalty kill. Defensemen Marc Methot and Chris Phillips along with forward Erik Condra also play key roles in shorthanded situations.
Full preview here.
START ME UP
Good morning Pens fans! Today the Pens are in Ottawa and will take on the Senators at Scotiabank Place at 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh will hold an optional morning skate, so we'll see which players decide to participate.
Senators fans have been looking forward to this matchup ever since Norris defenseman Erik Karlsson was knocked out of the lineup in a freak accident involving Pens winger Matt Cooke. Cooke was finishing his check on Karlsson in the corner boards when his skate blade cut Karlsson's Achilles tendon.
Karlsson returned to practice last Friday and is an outside shot to return to the lineup soon (maybe tonight). I hope he does return soon. Karlsson is an incredible talent and the game really misses him.
It’s been a while since I’ve played a song so comically bad that it’s enjoyable (see Journey and Chicago). Today will be one of those days. Being in Ottawa, we’ll play a song by Ottawa native Bryan Adams (never ever EVER to be confused with Ryan Adams). There is no shortage of cheesy love song ballads to choose from in the Bryan Adams collection.
I almost chose “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” Adams wears an epic jean jacket, wanders around the forest and stares reflectively into the ocean. Plus, Kevin Costner robs the rich and gives to the poor. But I fell asleep halfway through the video. It’s hard to believe this song came out the same year as Nirvana’s revolutionary “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
But alas, we’ll go with “Summer of 69.” The song/video are a work of art. The imagery of the collapsing shelter falling on the guitar to symbolize the crushing end to the “best days of my life” would make Van Gogh blush (0:30). And if you want to know what type of character Adams is, his girlfriend wakes him up after he fell asleep working the drive thru (1:15) they stare magically into each other’s eyes. Does he kiss her? Nope. He just walks away! Rejection! He must’ve been so emotionally unavailable in the summer of ‘69. And nothing says rebellious teenage youth like an apple fight. Yes, an apple fight. But, my favorite part is when they “rock” out at the end of the video. There is a collection of awkward smiles by the band that (2:47) that is pure comedy, especially the drummer (3:04). And the video is packed with plenty more ridiculous moments. Feel free to add to the list.