VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
Signs that the playoffs have arrived...
--Sam Kasan & Wes Crosby
The Isles took the ice after the Penguins...
Matt Moulson is making his playoff debut at 29 years old
He and linemate John Tavares look excited to make their debuts
And orange - doesn't have the same ring to it as "black and gold"
Travis Hamonic releases a shot. He'll be counted on to shut down Evgeni Malkin
Another one of Nabokov
--Michelle Crechiolo and Drew Hancherick
THEY SAID IT - GAME 1 EDITION
Let's start with the Penguins...
And then here's a few from the Islanders locker room...
--Michelle Crechiolo and Wes Crosby
Orpik was one of the last players off the ice and didn't skate with a defensive pairing during rushes. Following practice, when asked how close he is to returning, he told the media...
"You guys know the rules. I can't talk about injuries."
Orpik did note that there was never a timeframe on his injury, but that he expected to be back around this time period.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby informed the media that he will NOT play tonight in Game 1 against the Islanders...
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he will not play in tonight’s Game 1 of the Pittsburgh’s first-round series against the New York Islanders.
Crosby saw the doctor on Tuesday. He worked on a fifth line in Wednesday’s morning skate and did not practice on the power play after working one-on-one with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar before team practice.
“I’m not in good (enough) of shape yet,” Crosby said. “Obviously not going to play tonight. Whenever I kind of take a regular morning skate, I’m sure that will be a pretty good sign I’m in.”
Full story here.
Here are some pictures from the Pens' morning skate...
Sidney "Trap Jaw" Crosby
Brooks "Fear the Stare" Orpik
Crosby communicates telepathically with Bortuzzo
Marc "Andre" Fleury
Orpik and Glass try Tebowing on the ice
Cosmo's 3rd Hottest NHL player. Of course when told he asked who were No. 1 and 2.
Kunitz snaps a shot
Douglas "Crankshaft" Murray
Evgeni "The Rushin' Russian" Malkin
Tyler "The 'ol Boy" Kennedy flashes a grin
Eaton steps on a nail
--Sam Kasan & Drew Hancherick
It's official - Pens and Blackhawks are playing at Soldier Field next year.
The Chicago Blackhawks will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a regular-season outdoor NHL® game at Soldier Field on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, the National Hockey League announced today.
The event is part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ – a group of NHL regular-season games planned for outdoor locations during the 2013-14 season. The NHL intends to announce more games as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ in the coming weeks.
Full details here.
MORNING SKATE INFO
Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) and Brooks Orpik (lower body) both attended the team's morning skate, although Crosby worked with the "fifth" line while Orpik did not take a shift in teh defensive rotation.
Update: The Pens used the following power-play units:
Letang, Iginla, Neal, Malkin, Kunitz
Martin, Niskanen, Bennett, Morrow, Jokinen
ROAD TO THE CUP
The road to the Cup begins tonight. Throughout the playoffs (hopefully a long run) myself, Hall of Famer Mike Lange and 2-time Cup winner Phil Bourque will be giving an in-depth analysis of the Penguins and their playoff foes in a series preview in Road to the Cup presented by Verizon.
It was awesome working with these two true professionals, especially Lange, whom I grew up listening to as a little guy. And Bourque is a guy that I have a lot of respect for with his knowledge of the game. They showed up on set ready to play. I was just riding their coattails and dishing them the puck at every opportunity.
START ME UP
Finally. After a lengthy NHL work stoppage and a condensed 48-game sprint, the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs have arrived. Hockey fans have waited a long time for this moment. The action got underway last night, but for Pens fans it all starts tonight.
The Pens had one of the best regular seasons in franchise history. They won the Atlantic Division crown, secured the top seed in the East and rattled off a 15-game winning streak. And all of that is meaningless now. Sixteen teams open the playoffs on a clean slate. Everyone gets a fresh start. In the race to four wins, anything can happen.
There won't be a lot of surprises in this series. The Pens and Islanders know each other very well. The players, coaches and staff have spent the past few days preparing and practicing for this moment. The only thing left to do now is play the game.
In seven hours the Stanley Cup playoffs will begin. The chase for glory starts tonight. Drop the puck.
We'll start the day with a song that is getting regular play lately in my music rotation: Fall Out Boy's "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)." The song has that epic build of anticipation and conflict. It gives you the ominous sense of an oncoming battle. And it's not everyday you see a an incendiary immolation of musical instruments sacrificed on a funeral pyre.