Just caught up with coach Julien and some players for media availability at their team hotel. Here's what the Bruins had do say...
CONFIDENT MALKIN RARING TO GO
We talked to Penguins superstar center Evgeni Malkin about a lot of topics today -- the Bruins, matchup situations, going up against Zdeno Chara, the benefits of resting this week, etc. Geno was in good spirits, laughing and joking, and he gave us a lot of good stuff. But the answer he gave when asked how he felt about his play right now is what really stood out to me. "Every game I feel so much better and (I have) so much confidence. And right now I’m so excited to play tomorrow. I feel awesome.”
I wrote about that and everything else I mentioned here. See exactly what No. 71 had to say.
DUPER AND KUNI
Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz went to the podium to do their media availability today. There were name cards set up for them (it's the conference finals; we mean business now!) Of course Duper, being the rascal that he is, checked to see how the seats were labeled and promptly dropped into the seat meant for Kunitz. Kuni didn't realize it at first then once he did, pretended to be exasperated with his teammate as they switched them back. I feel like the looks they are exchanging in this photo mean something like this: Kunitz: "Really, Duper?!" Dupuis: "Who, me? What'd I do?"
ROAD TO THE CUP
TRIB PLAYOFF UPDATE
Both Ray Shero and Evgeni Malkin spoke to the media today, and we hear from them in today's Trib Total Media Playoff Update.
PensTV made the rounds in the locker room on the last off-day practice before Game 1 finally arrives...
And linemates Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz went to the podium today.
As did coach Bylsma.
QUOTES FROM THE LOCKER ROOM (AND PODIUM)
Here's what the guys had to say with t-minus one day until Game 1...
--Wes Crosby and Michelle Crechiolo
Kunitz and coach
Crosby with the 1-2 step
Vokoun gets over for a save
Morrow leans left for a shot
Crosby on the follow through
Iginla rips the rubber
"This is Sparta!!!!" - Dupuis
Power play work
--Sam Kasan & James Santelli
THE GENERAL MANAGER SPEAKS
Penguins general manager Ray Shero spoke to the media prior to the team's practice. Here are some great tidbits from his media chat.
For an in-depth look at Shero's assessment of the upcoming series click here.
On the Pens' depth:
We’ve gotten to the third round because the depth of our hockey team has really come through. You saw that starting with Game 5 of the Islanders series, inserting three players into the lineup with Tomas Vokoun, Tyler Kennedy and Joe Vitale that made a difference in that series and helped us win that series.
On if the Pens don't win a Cup if it will be a disappointing season:
Our goal, like Boston, LA and Chicago is to win four more games. I’m not going to look further than that, past this series. At the end of our season, whenever that it, I can look back and reflect and say was that a great experience? Successful? Disappointment? I’m not going to look to far down the road. I’m going to enjoy it while we’re here and look forward to tomorrow night.
On if this is the best team's he had:
I think it’s our deepest team. In ’09 we won a Stanley Cup championship so that is our best team right now.
On the long wait to start the series:
I look at the positive, we’re still playing. Whenever they tell us to play, we’re going to play.
On facing the Bruins:
If we were going to go deep into the playoffs I think we all felt Boston was a team we’d potentially have to play. I think it sets up well.
On the last four teams being the previous Cup winners:
It makes for a great storyline, the remaining four team. It’s great for the sport. More importantly it’s great for the Penguins. We’re here and we're happy to be here.
And lastly, Shero had some glowing things to say about goaltender Tomas Vokoun. More on that here.
Everybody is on the ice for practice at CONSOL Energy Center, their fourth straight session during this long break before Game 1 on Saturday.
The lines and D-pairs are as follows...
UPDATE: The Pens worked in the following power-play units: Letang, Malkin, Crosby, Neal, Kunitz on one; Martin, Niskanen, Iginla, Morrow and Jokinen on the other.
Kennedy patiently watched four games as the Islanders use their blistering speed as an advantage against the Penguins to even the opening-round series at 2-2. Head coach Dan Bylsma, trying to match the Islanders’ speed, inserted the swift-footed Kennedy back into the lineup for Game 5.
“’TK’ was one of the good players that sat out for our team,” Bylsma said. “When he did get inserted back into the lineup immediately he gave us speed on the third and fourth line. It was a big factor against the Islanders.”
Kennedy’s speed, tenacity and forecheck helped negate the Islanders’ lopsided edge from his opening shift. But his biggest impact in the game came at the seven-minute mark of the second period.
Full story here.
START ME UP
It's Day 24(ish) of the Pens' wait to play the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final. I feel like the Hundred Years' War was a more expedited event. Anyways, the Pens will practice (once again) at 11 a.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. Meanwhile, the Bruins will be flying to Pittsburgh and will meet with local media later today.
So stay tuned for the latest updates as we inch closer and closer to the elusive drop of the puck...
We'll start the day with Michelle Crechiolo's Trib Total Media Playoff Update. Meesh touches on the Pens' long wait for the start of this series and Jarome Iginla's decision of Pittsburgh over Boston.