Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pregame news and notes Game 4

For the Pens, it’s business as usual; they know what they’ve got to do and how they’re going to do it. Gary Roberts is out tonight and Adam Hall is expected to stay in the lineup. Jordan Staal’s back with the team after flying back to Canada for his grandfather’s funeral. The trip was facilitated by former Pen Mark Recchi. Recchi has served as Staal’s landlord for the past two years and has probably grown into something of a father figure for him. Recchi going the extra mile to be a classy guy is nothing new for those that hear him, so it’s not surprising but still is touching.

The more interesting tidbits today are from the Flyers:

--Steve Downie, after two critical mistakes in the past two games, is out of the lineup and Patrick “Nearly Ruptured Testicle” Thoresen is back in.
--Braydon Coburn’s eye is still not good enough to go, so he’s out and Ryan Parent will stay in.
--The biggest tweak might be that Daniel Briere has been separated from Vaclav Prospal, neither of whom have been very visible in the first three games after what has been a sensational playoff for both (especially Briere). Prospal is going to move to center and play with RJ Umberger and Joffrey Lupul. Briere will stay at center on the top line with Mike Richards and Scottie Upshall.
--We think the intriguing thing here is Prospal (usually a winger) playing center. He’s only taken 58 faceoffs this playoffs and might not be used to the increased defensive coverage centers have. That could be an area where Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby gets some space, so keep an eye on that.

As we saw around the NHL last night, a 3-0 series may be a formality, but it is not over. Dallas came out and, like Hilary Clinton, somehow clung on to fight another day. The lesson for Pittsburgh: just because everyone’s saying it is over doesn’t mean it’s over….Should the Penguins win tonight and the Red Wings wrap their series up on Saturday, we’re hearing Game 1 is Thursday May 22nd. Just enough time for a little break without becoming to rusty. Now it’s just up to the boys to go out and do it.

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