DETROIT -- The Red Wings may feel like they have experience on their side. The Penguins, however, just may have lady luck on theirs. Well, perhaps just one of them.
Coming in from morning practice, Penguins defenseman Ryan Malone had an interesting piece of flair in his locker. A small action figure with the No. 10 and a Stanley Cup playoffs logo on the chest occupies his stall at Joe Louis Arena.
“We were at West Point, my old coach from Shattuck-St. Mary’s, his kid had a bunch of little dolls,” Malone said. “John LeClair was on the team at the time, so we kind of got it as a joke. Now that Johnny is gone we always kept it around so if anybody needed some good luck on their stick or kinda went in a little drought, Johnny would cheer them up and switch, so Johnny’s been supporting us all playoffs long.”
It might be working, because the Penguins don’t seem too nervous about Saturday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Red Wings.
“I feel good, I feel confident,” Pascal Dupuis said, “I am a little anxious to get the game started.”
Dupuis’ teammates share a similar calmness about the upcoming game. Jordan Staal isn’t feeling any butterflies -- yet.
“Not too bad,” the young Penguins’ center said. “I’m sure right before the game it’ll be a little bit, but once the game starts, it’s just like any other game.”
Marian Hossa also seemed calm. Why shouldn’t he? After all, the last time he played at Joe Louis Arena – on Jan. 15 -- he scored a hat trick in Atlanta’s 5-1 win.
“That was the regular-season,” said Hossa who was acquired by the Pens at this year’s trade deadline. “It’s such a big difference being in the Stanley Cup finals. At least I got one game under my belt in this arena where some guys didn’t play. I know how the boards are fast here, so I already talked to some guys, and they already tried this morning, so it’s good they got on that right away.”
If Hossa, or any of the Penguins are nervous, they are doing a good job of hiding it.
“Were taking it one game at a time, we know we’re not going to win the big trophy tonight, so we’ve got a long road ahead of us,” Malone said.