VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
A total team effort in today's VGDR. And one final happy birthday to the most bitter and entertaining man in sports journalism, Rob Rossi.
SOUNDS HEARD AROUND THE ROOM
SENATORS ROUND UP
--Sam Kasan & Drew Hancherick
THEY SAID IT
Quotes out of the Penguins locker room...
--Michelle Crechiolo and Wes Crosby
After practice Tomas Vokoun confirmed he will be starting in goal for Game 2.
"Just prepare for the game. No matter what, you prepare the same way," he said when asked his thoughts on his fourth consecutive start. "Nothing really changes. When you play, you just do everything (the same) and that’s about it."
PENS PRACTICE PICS
This may be one of the greatest photos ever used in the Pens Report
A smile and a mustache hides under that jaw protector
Despres tries to score on starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun
These Pens are all wearing matching white jerseys
Dupuis' beard never fails to amaze me
Kunitz and Neal stretch in the exact same spot every skate
The expression on Joey V.'s face - "oh no, you didn't!"
Douglas "Crankshaft" Murray
Dupuis inspects a hangnail while Reirden chuckles at a joke we'll never know
Linemates Jarome "Iggy" Iginla and Evgeni "Geno" Malkin
That is one withering stare
Tony Granato talks to Neal with a random ladder photobombing the shot
Iggy hard at work while Brooksy and Kuni take a water break
A tremendous shot of the captain
--Michelle Crechiolo and Drew Hancherick
MORNING SKATE DEETS
Kris Letang and Craig Adams were the only two Pens players missing from the morning skate. Both were at practice Thursday. Jussi Jokinen and Mark Eaton were inserted in their spots.
Here is how things shook out...
1st PP: Martin, Iginla on points. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz up front. (Halfway thru, Neal replaced Iginla with Malkin moving to point).
2nd PP: Niskanen, Dupuis on points. Neal, Morrow, Kennedy up front. (Halfway thru, Iginla replaced Neal and played point with Dupuis moving up front).
WHO IS EVGENI MALKIN?
You know you've made it when you are the answer (or question?) in the game show Jeopardy! Major fail by Jed who guessed "Who's Crosby?" But big props to host Alex Trebek, who nailed the pronunciation of Geno's name.
I bet Sean Connery would have gotten the right answer. "Not so fast Trebek!"
DUPUIS FINALLY GETTING RECOGNITION
Dupuis’ skill was evident during the Penguins’ first-round series against the New York Islanders, when he scored five goals through six games, including one in Pittsburgh’s series-clinching 4-3 overtime victory in Game 6.
“I think he’s always had the speed and strength,” captain Sidney Crosby said, “but he’s going to a lot of tough areas and he’s getting opportunities to put it in the back of the net. So, I think his scoring touch is probably something that’s developed a little more over the last couple years and with his speed, he’s going to get into those situations and those positions.”
Dupuis has enjoyed the most productive years of his career during the past two seasons, averaging 0.79 points per game this season and 0.71 the year prior. He attributes much of his success to playing alongside Crosby, but while the captain was sidelined for the final 12 games of the regular season, Dupuis continued to produce at a rapid pace – posting 12 points (3G-9A) during that period.
Full story here.
CHARITABLE SIDE OF MATT COOKE
Most people only know one side of Matt Cooke - his tough, physical hockey side. What they don't see is the large amount of charitable work he performs with the help of team chaplain Brad Henderson.
After the service finished up, Cooke was touched and sincerely grateful when he learned that the team’s Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation would be donating the proceeds of a 50-50 raffle from this season totaling $15,000 – along with a $10,000 grant of their own for a total of $25,000 – to the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, a charity that Henderson is the president of and that Cooke is actively involved in.
Cooke traveled to Haiti for a humanitarian trip last August with Henderson through the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, which has been dedicated to helping orphans in the country devastated by an earthquake three years ago (full story on the trip here). Cooke has experienced their sobering living conditions, so he knows just how much this will help the children he spent time with and grew to love.
“I think it’s overwhelming, especially to have the support of the organization that employs me to stand behind me and get involved in the organizations that we’re involved with,” Cooke said. “The money that was raised, it goes without saying how much it means to not only the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, but their involvement in Haiti and what that can provide for kids without parents or a home down there.”
Full story here.
START ME UP
Good morning Pens fans! Tonight Pittsburgh will host the Ottawa Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at CONSOL Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. The Pens will take the ice at 10:30 a.m. for their morning skate. They made a few lineup changes at Thursday's practice. We'll see if those hold for today. The Sens have the ice at 11:30 a.m.
Stay right here for the latest news and coverage to get you ready for Game 2!!
We'll kick off the day with some Reel Big Fish - a pretty fun and upbeat ska punk band. Here is their cover version of "Take on Me," which was recorded for the movie BASEketball.