When Brad Thiessen
, starting goaltender for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, began to play soccer with his teammates in Albany yesterday, one day after the team played its first playoff game of the year against the River Rats, the 24-year-old netminder did not expect to get a call from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
That call informed Thiessen that he would be coming to the Steel City that day to join the Penguins for Game 2 of their quarterfinals playoff series against the Ottawa Senators.
“It's going from sitting in the stands to being around the team, in practice and in the dressing room,” he said. “It's exciting, and I'll be ready for whatever happens.”
Thiessen signed with the Penguins last year on April 8 and joined the team during their race to the Stanley Cup championship and practiced as a member of the taxi squad “Black Aces.” If asked to play in the game tonight, the 6-foot, 180-pound goaltender said that he is prepared.
“If it happens, it happens,” he said. “I'm just trying to be ready. It's been a fast couple of days. I'm not thinking about what's going on. I'm just rolling and we'll see what happens tonight.”
After completing his first season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Thiessen said that he was excited to get the chance to be welcomed back with the team and step foot on Mellon Arena ice again.
“It's nice to be out with the guys,” he said. “To be here last year and know them all makes it a little easier for me to come in and be a part of it. I can just come here and do my thing.”From Caitlin Kasunich
Sounds heard throughout the Senators' locker room:Cory CloustonOn how the playoffs as a whole are playing out so far:
It creates some excitement, and I think that is what the league wants. It just shows that it doesn’t really matter what happens during the regular season. They are going to be tight battles. The league is very close. The regular season is important, but it’s a much different game in the playoffs. You have to take it a game at a time. But just because you’re first place or eighth place doesn’t mean that you can’t win a game or a series.On Ottawa being a trapping team:
I’m not going to get into specifics on systems. You’re going to have to watch the game or break the video down for that. We don’t call ourselves a trapping team, but we want to control the middle of the ice for sure.On adding new players to the roster:
We have guys called up. They won’t be here today, but they’ll be with us in Ottawa.On how coming out on the winning side will bolster Brian Elliott’s confidence:
Obviously, it will help it. I thought that he played very well at times. It was a tough game for offensive opportunities and quality chances. It wasn’t necessarily the number that we gave up. We gave up maybe too many quality chances, but I thought that he made some key saves to make sure that we didn’t give up the lead. To me, that was the most important thing for Brian.On what adjustments he expects the Penguins to make in tonight’s game:
I think that they’re probably going to just elevate their game. I don’t think that they’re going to change it a lot. At this time of the year, if you’re starting to revamp your systems and revamp what you’re doing, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. We expect them to play a fairly similar game but just maybe a little bit more intense. They are going to try to get pucks in a little bit deeper on us and put some pressure on our defense.On the team blocking a lot of shots:
I’m not going to make comments on the team prior to me coming here. I don’t think that’s fair, but it’s definitely something that we preach. We want our guys to do it. Whether you’re a forward, defenseman, center or winger, you have to make sure that you’re getting in shooting lanes and taking those shooting lanes away. Especially at this time of the year, you have to sacrifice your body.On the Penguins’ success on their power plays in Game 1:
There are certain things that we saw that they were trying to do, but it wasn’t necessarily a surprise. They just did a better job of it than we did on the kill. I thought that on the last couple of kills we did a pretty good job. I’m not going to get into specifics with what we’re going to do on any system – the power play, penalty kill or five-on-five. Jarkko Ruutu
On his line:
Keep it simple. To be honest, what happened last game doesn’t matter tonight. On what losing Game 2 would mean:
Once again, win or lose you don’t look back you just look ahead the whole series. Whoever gets the first four wins is going to take the series.On if the upsets have surprised him:
I don’t think so. It’s been that way the past couple years. A lot of people didn’t pick any upsets (then), but they happened. I think that shows how good the teams are. You can’t take any team lightly.On the shift-by-shift mantra:
It comes down to mental preparation. If you think you are too good then it’s going to come back (to burn you). If you think the other way after you have a bad shift then it’s going to take away from your momentum. We just have to look ahead, not worry about the past and look forward to our next shift. On the intensity he expects from the Penguins:
I think we expect them to be better. We have to be better too. We didn’t play a perfect game. We played pretty well but we have to step it up.
On the game play killing penalties:
The plan is always good. We do well killing penalties. Maybe we gave (Malkin) more time than we would have liked. We know that now. As the game went on we took that away more.On the close games in the postseason:
That is the NHL now. Everybody can win on any given night. Obviously that has been shown through the first game. You need to come out and have your best effort if you want to win each and every night.On teams being closer than the media thinks:
Yes. A lot of times it’s easy to look at the stats and see this team scored this many goals and they have this guy and that guy, but at the end of the day it comes down to a full team in the playoffs. Just doing that little bit extra ends up being the deciding factor.On Washington shutting down Ovechkin:
He had I don’t know how many missed shots. Give Montreal credit because they did a great job containing him and shutting him down. They have a lot of other threats on that team as well and I thought they did a great job containing them as well. They looked good in their first game.
Here are some pictures from the Senators' morning skate today at Mellon Arena:
Nick Foligno (left), Daniel Alfredsson (right)
Sounds heard throughout the locker room:
Dan Bylsma On how the playoffs as a whole are playing out so far:
I think that, as in past years, when the Stanley Cup playoffs start, you see how seeds upset often. I think that it is an indication of why the Stanley Cup playoffs are one of the hardest trophies to win in sports, because the first round seed – no matter who you are – can be an absolute battle to win. You see that indicated in the first games. On how much of the team’s game is predicated on what it does in its own end:
I think that puck retrievals, coming out of D zone and the mentality with which we execute are all things that we need to get better at and focus on. Sometimes slowing it down and going back makes you feel better. It doesn’t put the other team in jeopardy. We need to make sure that our mentality and puck retrievals coming out of D zone are north. The speed and puck support and neutral zone transition must be north. With speed, it comes from the puck. With execution, it comes from puck support and areas that we need to focus on and become better at.On having success on the power play in Game 1:
I think that in the first half of the season, we spent time trying to discuss why we were at 15 percent. For the last 35 games, we have been at over 22 percent. That’s a pretty decent number. Going into the game, certainly you have a real good understanding of the other team by scouting what they’re going to do. The success that we had in the game was a result of what we’ve been trying to do with a little more puck movement and motion – not just stationary. That allows our good players to play to their strengths – cutting to the seam and cycling off down low, and that’s how we scored a couple of those goals. Our power play has been pretty darn good for a while, and it won us some hockey games. It was big for us last game and got us out in the lead and back in the game. I think that that is an indication of some of the things that we have been doing for a couple of months.On the Penguins third line:
I don’t think that the goal for our third line is to go out and produce a (Jarkko) Ruutu, (Chris) Kelly and (Chris) Neil. Our third line sees a lot of time against (Jason) Spezza’s line, so it’s not a head-to-head matchup. The Staal line was probably our best line in the offensive zone – playing there and spending offensive zone shifts there. We talked a little bit about what they can do better. I talked to Jordan today, and part of it is the way that we shoot the puck. We shot the puck wide in the net a lot. It got pucks out for them. It’s something that we can do better and focus on for that line in particular, but that line needs to continue to get to the offensive zone to work on their defense and to work on the Spezza line and the (Daniel) Alfredsson line to make them play in the defensive zone. That’s what they’re best at when they’re playing their game. When we’re a good team, they’re a big part of that.On the temptation of making changes after coming off of a loss in the playoffs:
I think that it is a great temptation. Part of the playoffs for the team and the coach and the decisions is the emotions. After a loss, emotions run deep a little bit. You have to make a decision on what’s best for the team. The situation is the same for our team and how we approach Game 2. Half of the team has lost in Game 1, and we have to be ready to get to our game and be ready to play our best in Game 2. That’s the emotional level, and the decisions that we make about the lineup and changes that we make hopefully will indicate what’s best for our team counteracting what Ottawa did and will do tonight. You try to stay emotionally on an even keel to step back from the game and the emotions of losing and get ready for the team and our mindset to play our game.On Maxime Talbot’s ability to maintain a cheerful atmosphere:
I think that Max is a good indicator of that. He is also a guy who will say what needs to be said in the dressing room when it needs to be said. I think that he is not just the guy who is going to lighten the mood or joke around. He is a barometer of our team’s emotional level. Today we know that we have a chance in Game 2, and we’re ready to do that. We know that we need to get better in certain areas and what we need to address. Putting your head down and being upset about that is not always the best way to do that. I think that we’re focused, and today we’ll step forward into Game 2 at 7:05 tonight in the right mindset.Sidney CrosbyOn the Washington Capitals being down 1-0 in their series:
It’s the playoffs. There are always favorites and things like that. It’s one game. A lot can happen in one game. It’s a team that is able to be consistent. It’s a team that is able to adjust. It is one game, and you have to move forward. It’s not easy, but good teams lose in the playoffs. It’s only Game 1. It happens.On having success on the power play in Game 1:
I think, especially early on, we were pretty aggressive. We shot the puck. When you shoot the puck, you open things up. Sometimes it doesn’t always go in. For us, it did go in. That’s great, but we had that mentality to get pucks to the net. That never goes away.On the Penguins power play not being as successful during the regular season:
A lot of people talk about our power play. If you look at the stats, in the last 30 games, we were probably one of the top I would guess. I haven’t done it, but we felt pretty confident in our power play. We missed Gonch (Sergei Gonchar) and Geno (Evgeni Malkin
) for a long time. That never helps a power play, but I think that we’re confident in our power play. We don’t feel like we have had to really change a whole lot coming into the playoffs. We’ve done a good job down the stretch of making sure that habits are there so that when you get to the playoffs, there is not much adjusting. We feel confident in it, and certainly both teams are going to have to adjust as you go on with both the penalty kill and power play. But our mentality is that we want to put pucks on the net.On Ottawa’s penalty kill collapsing and allowing the Penguins to put more pucks on the net:
Shooting the puck with traffic is always good when you’re playing. Especially in the playoffs, that proves to be more important even in five-on-five – getting those goals around the net and creating that havoc. With the power play, it’s the same thing. You want to be aggressive. You want to get pucks to the net. The more shots that you get, the more chances you are going to create. In fact, if you do shoot more, maybe they will sit back a little bit more to protect that. That’s what we’re trying to do.On every playoff game in the league so far being decided by one goal:
All of the teams are closely matched, and everyone is pretty well prepared. I think that these days everyone knows what to expect from every team and knows them pretty well. I don’t think that that is a big surprise at all.Marc-Andre Fleury
On what he does to bounce back:
It is just something I try to do. It is never fun to play a tough game. I think I learned early in my career that you have to forget about those as quickly as possible. The next day is a new day or a new game so you start all fresh.On how surprised he is being questioned about his play after winning a Cup:
I guess it is what it is. That is fine.On what the team needs to do better in Game 2:
If I can make some key saves that would help. If could play a full game for 60 minutes that would help too. I think at some points in games we have been dominating and we just have to do that for 60 minutes.On the challenge of bouncing back:
I would rather have a win after one game. I am not thinking about it anymore. I am looking forward to playing and trying to win.On all the home teams who have lost thus far:
I think it says a lot about the NHL right now that no matter where you finish the year. It is so tight that I think everybody has a shot. You have to come prepared every night.On Washington losing and Ovechkin being held without a shot:
That is something you have to expect in the playoffs. Teams are going to play well and be tough to beat.
On drawing from last season’s experience falling behind in a series:
That was good experience we have gotten during the past two playoff seasons. I think that is something that is important. You have to learn from your mistakes and then start fresh the next game.Maxime TalbotOn the pressure on the Penguins to win Game 2:
There is pressure, but I think it is good pressure. We haven’t been put in this situation where lost the first game at home the past couple years. It’s a good challenge for us. The good thing is this team has always responded well to a challenge. We are going to try to come back and win Game 2.On how tough it would be to come back if the Penguins lose Game 2:
It is a race to four whether you lose Game 3 or Game 1. You have to win four. Like I said, the good thing is we always respond well in front of a challenge. It’s a challenge to play better. We are going to need to play harder in Game 2.On what the Penguins have to do to get more shots:
I don’t think it is something we have to change. They played good. You have to give them credit because they did some good things to prevent us from getting 40 shots on net. We are going to have to put more pucks in their end and play more in their zone. That isn’t what we did. That is the challenge for us to bring pucks and bodies to the net if we want to score some goals.Kris LetangOn this being possibly being the last game at Mellon Arena:
We don’t think about that. We only think about ourselves in the right way at this time. We didn’t play well in Game 1. We didn’t manage the puck; we didn’t forecheck; we did a lot of wrong things. We have to give them a lot of credit because they put a lot of pressure on our D. I think tonight is going to be different. We have to focus on playing better for 60 minutes.On all the underdogs who have won so far:
When you step in the playoffs there are no underdogs. Everybody is on the same ice. It is a battle every shift. You rely on your skill but not as much as you do in the season. You rely on your forecheck, on doing the right things and paying attention to details. I think whoever works the hardest on the ice or who does the most detail is going to win the game.On Ovechkin being held without a shot in Game 1:
I hope Montreal feels great about that because he is a really tough guy to defend. I was watching and I thought they did a very good job. I think he is going to answer back with a good second game. That was a good job by them though because he is a tough guy to stop.Mark EatonOn getting a win:
We pride ourselves on not losing two games in a row and that will be our focus tonight.On moving on from the loss:
You can't dwell on it. We learn from it. We watched video of some things that we need to get better at, and improve on. We're looking to bring that in tonight.On thinking if this could be the last game at Mellon Arena:
No, that never crossed our mind until you just mentioned it. Nobody expects to win 16 in a row to get to the Stanley Cup. You don't expect to win them all. With the losses you have to learn from the mistakes you made and get better.
11:05 AM: Marc-Andre Fleury
(right) is looking for a strong bounce-back performance tonight
Mike Rupp (left) may make his postseason debut as a Penguin tonight; Max Talbot and Sergei Gonchar (right)
Goalie Brad Thiessen was recalled
yesterday and may suit up tonight as the team's backup Sidney Crosby
In what was a Dan Bylsma staple from last season, the Penguins did not skate in their normal line routine at Friday's morning skate - a move intended to hide the Penguins lineup for tonight's Game 2 showdown with the Ottawa Senators at Mellon Arena.
In Thursday's practice, Mike Rupp was inserted into the lineup on the fourth line, Pascal Dupuis
was elevated to the second line and Ruslan Fedotenko appeared to be the odd-man out.