Pens fans haven't lost the faith. PensTV took to the streets and Pens fans showed their support for their team heading into a critical Game 4. --Sam Kasan
PensTV's everyman Steve Mears is in Philly to file this Verizon Game Day Report. --Sam Kasan
Tangradi will play his childhood team in the playoffs in Game 4 (left); Fleury between the pipes (right)
Despres could make his NHL postseason debut (left); Despres checks Crosby at the crease (right)
Asst coach Granato with Crosby and Malkin (left)--Sam Kasan
Sounds heard around the room...Eric TangradiOn being in the lineup tonight:
It’s exciting. Going home last night and having dinner with the family, kind of got all the jitters out if the possibility came up. Now that it’s real, it’s kind of just focusing on hockey and my game and trying to get a big win here in Philadelphia.On what the most exciting part is for him:
I think it’s the anthem. Once you hear the anthem, towards the end the fans start to really, really get into it. That’s when you realize, you know what, this is a whole other level than the regular season.
Last year I was able to get in one (playoff) game to get me some experience and prepare myself for this year. But I don’t think anything will prepare me for how loud it’s going to be in this building tonight and how important this game is, too.On if the crowd will give him any leniency since he’s a hometown boy:Absolutely not (laughs). I’m still wearing black and gold and I understand that.
I’m coming in here and trying to get a big win in my home city. At this point, it’s kind of just business. Trying to get in and get a huge win and build momentum – hopefully for Game 5.On if his friends and family will be here:
Yeah, about nine people from my family are going to make it in today. They’re definitely excited, as am I. We definitely leave that emotion to the side and just worry about one shift at a time.On if his parents will be wearing black and gold:
I think they’re just going with neutral colors. I think white might be their safe bet tonight. I don’t know if they’re going to be wearing Penguins stuff. But I know that they’ll be cheering for me and then for the team. Simon DespresOn the possibility of playing tonight:
It’s a good opportunity. I just want to do my best to help my team.On potentially making his playoff debut:
It feels good. It’s a good opportunity for me. Just going to do my best to help the team win and prolong the series.On if he’s nervous:
It’s a good nervousness. It’s the best time of the year and I’m happy to be playing right now.On his mindset:
It’s a great opportunity. I’ll do my best out there to help the team. Hopefully we win.On what he’s thought of the series: It’s been a pretty nasty series so far. It’s a good series, a good rivalry.On if he’s surprised the team is down 3-0: Yeah, definitely. But we’ve got the group to come back and I believe that we can come back.On if the players have talked to him about what to expect:
No, I haven’t talked to them about it. I played one game here in the regular season, but I bet in the playoffs, it is different. Matt CookeOn this team knowing how to play shorthanded:
You don’t ever replace anybody that’s missing. That’s not the approach. But we’ve been able to have a strong organization, even through the minors, to have guys that can come up and play and do well. Some of that responsibility lies on players like Pascal Dupuis and myself, to make sure that we step up and are better for our team
.On if the veterans will speak to the younger guys:
Everyone that’s here has been a part of the last 15, 16 months. They saw the series against Tampa. It’s no different. They’ve got to come in and they don’t have to do anything special, they just need to play and play well. --Michelle Crechiolo
12:40 PM:Sidney Crosby
spoke to the media in the locker room... On the team’s mindset:
We’ve just got to think about tonight. That’s where our mindset is. It’s a big game. We’ve got to win a hockey game. That’s really all that we’re thinking about.
Everyone just wants to make sure we’re individually ready, know what we need to do and go out there and get a win. On being without James Neal:
He’s a big part of our offense, but I think we have a lot of depth. That’s something we’ve prided ourselves on all year. I think we’re more than capable of providing offense here in the absence of him for one game. On players making their series debuts tonight:
I don’t think we really need to tell them anything. I think they’ve watched the games and know what to expect. They’ve been involved in all the meetings and everything we’ve discussed. At the end of the day, whoever’s coming in, their role doesn’t change. We’ve got to make sure they do it to the best of their abilities. That’s really the same situation everyone is in. On where their confidence level is in terms of walking out of here with a win:
It’s there. We know we’re capable of it. Whether it’s a good or a bad thing, we haven’t put a full game together yet. I think knowing that, it should give us confidence that we’re quite capable of winning a hockey game and playing the right way. I think our focus is more just on playing the right way and we like the chances that we’ll get the right result. On if he’ll say anything before the game:
No, I don’t think there is really anything that needs to be said at this point. We’ve had a couple days to kind of digest everything and look at our game. We’ve talked as a group about what we need to do better and where our game is and that kind of thing. I think all the talking has been done. Now we have to go out and play. --Michelle Crechiolo
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma…On the play of Evgeni Malkin:
It’s unfortunate because I think he’s played well and came up big with the power play. He’s gotten some goals there for us. But we haven’t been in a game that’s allowed those to be meaningful yet. That’s the most important thing for tonight and for all of our players, not just one player doing one thing. All of us being at our best and win our first game here tonight. On young players stepping into the lineup in the postseason:
These are guys that have played for us and been in roles for us. It’s a big game. It’s a huge game to be dropped into. They know exactly what to do and what’s expect, where they fit in. They’ve done that for us before. I think you’re going to see Simon step up in a big way. On if there is comfort having young guys step in since they’ve done it all season:It’s almost a sense of normalcy.
Part of the obstacles that this team has faced and dealt with repeatedly is that type of thing. To see a lineup on the board today of Adams-Asham-Neal that’s not playing tonight almost gives our team a sense of normalcy and resiliency about how we’ll come out and play tonight.
On if he wants someone to a player to make a guarantee or treat it like any other game:It’s not any other (game)
. I know the group of guys in there, everyone of them plan on going out tonight and winning our first game here in Philly. On the mood of the team:I think we’re ready to be at our best tonight. --Sam Kasan
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Paul Martin
will not play in Game 4 due to an undisclosed injury. --Sam Kasan
Defensemen Paul Martin
and Zbynek Michalek
are not on the ice for the team's morning skate. The Pens used the following lines...
The seven defensemen rotated through the drills. --Sam Kasan
11:10 AM: The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defenseman Simon Despres from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, it was announced by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.Full details here.
(Getty Images)--Sam Kasan
Good morning from Philadelphia! Tonight the Pens will battle the Flyers in Game 4 of their opening round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Pittsburgh is facing elimination for the first time as they trail 3-0 in the series - but they still believe they can take this series
. The players aren't the only ones, as the fans have vocalized their support
They'll have to play this critical Game 4 with some key players out of the lineup. Craig Adams
, Arron Asham
and 40-goal scorer James Neal
will all miss the game with suspensions. Neal and Adams will only miss
Game 4, but Asham is out
for the series as he serves a four-game suspension.
You can expect to see Eric Tangradi
, Dustin Jeffrey
and Joe Vitale
inserted into the lineup. Tangradi, a Philadelphia native, will be playing
his first postseason game against his hometown team.
Those circumstances won't be helpful to the Pens. However, this is the first time this season where Pittsburgh will be staring at the end of its season. So you can expect to see a desperate hockey club battling for its life. There is no tomorrow, so the time has come to lay everything on the line.
As the Pens have said, they can't win four before they win one. So they'll have to give max effort in Game 4 to stay alive. With that mindset, I've decided to open the day with 30 Seconds to Mars "Battle of One." It all comes down to this. It all starts today.
Anyways, enjoy. --Sam Kasan