IGGY EXCITED FOR BOSTON
Obviously Jarome Iginla and the Penguins playing the Bruins in the conference final is a storyline because of that whole, you know, "Iginla to Boston: done deal" drama.
We got Iggy's thoughts on facing the Bruins after choosing Pittsburgh over them. But I also wanted to write about the months that have passed since that happened and how he has been doing both on and off the ice. I also wrote about the impact he could make in this series, and it's a big one. As coach Dan Bylsma said of Iggy, “You don’t mess around when this guy is on the ice ... He’s a fierce competitor. He sets the tone. There’s not a lot of people that aren’t put in check when Jarome is on the ice and when Jarome is playing and around those areas. I think that’s what he does for (Neal and Malkin) playing with them and specifically in those tighter areas.”
Read the full story here.
THEY SAID IT...
--Wes Crosby & Michelle Crechiolo
SOUNDS HEARD AROUND THE ROOM
Penguins goaltender Eric Hartzell led Quinnipiac University to an ECAC regular-season title and a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four. After he signed with the Penguins as a taxi-squad player and has joined the club during their Stanley Cup run.
The storybook year for Hartzell, 24, continued Wednesday when he was named the USA Hockey College Player of the Year.
"The news feels great," Hartzell said. "A lot of that reflects how awesome our program was this year and how awesome the guys were. I can't be more honored."
Full story here.
Crosby, sans jaw protector, chats with Fleury
Letang keeps his eyes off the puck
Cooke chirping someone. You know, the usual
Neal keeps his eye on the puck
Iginla whistles while he shoots
Bennett works the puck low
Fleury poke checks Crosby
Kunitz was the only player missing from the Pens practice. Iginla took Kunitz's spot on the power play, along with Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Neal.
Update: The Pens scrimmaged, but the combos and D-pairings were all over the place. A lot of experimentation and different players working together.
HARRINGTON & MAATTA HEAD TO WBS
Two of the Pittsburgh Penguins top prospects – defensemen Scott Harrington and Olli Maatta – will join the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after signing amateur tryout contracts.
Harrington and Maatta join WBS after helping their junior team, the London Knights, win their second-straight Ontario Hockey League (OHL) title and a second-consecutive berth in the Memorial Cup tournament.
Full story here.
VOKOUN SAVORING THE MOMENT
Since Vokoun entered the Penguins’ goal for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders, he has performed spectacularly. He did not allow more than three goals in any of his starts the first two rounds.
Most importantly, the Penguins won two straight games to finish off the Islanders with Vokoun as the starter, and they brushed away the Ottawa Senators in five games to reach the Eastern Conference Final. Advancing in the playoffs is an achievement for Vokoun, but he is not done yet.
“Our ultimate goal is winning, so any assessments about the season before it’s over, they’d be too early,” Vokoun said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Full story here.
Who will the Bruins match Chara against? Crosby or Malkin? How will Pittsburgh's high-flying offense combat Bruins' shutdown defense? Which power play will be more deadly? Did Jarome Iginla make the right choice to come to Pittsburgh instead of Boston?
These questions and many more are addressed in the series storylines.
Full storylines and schedule here.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS
Michelle Crechiolo gives you an in-depth scouting report on the Bruins.
START ME UP
Good morning Pens fans!! The Pens and Bruins will open their Eastern Conference Final series in two months - OK really it's this Saturday, but it feels like months away. After waiting four days for the schedule to come out, the Pens-Bruins have their dates set. Game 1 will be Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. That means the teams are still four days away playing.
In the meantime, the Pens will practice Wednesday at CONSOL Energy Center at 11:00 a.m. We'll have all the latest updates from practice right here as the day progresses so stay tuned...
We'll start the day by taking a trip back to the past. The Pens and Bruins met in the Wales Conference Final in 1991. The Penguins won the series, 4-2, en route to taking home their first Stanley Cup championship. Mario Lemieux sealed it with an empty-net goal in Game 6. Here are the highlights from that epic game below.