The Eastern Conference final marks my 16th playoff series since joining the Penguins beat for the 2006-07 season. Three opponents have accounted for nine of those series: Ottawa (four), Philadelphia (three) and Detroit (two).
I’ve covered postseason games in the frenzied atmosphere at Montreal and the unique energy at New York’s Madison Square Garden – and, truthfully, the noise inside Nassau Coliseum for Round 1 this postseason was a match for either.
Somehow, even though the return of the Boston Bruins to national prominence nearly coincided with the second coming of the Penguins, the Hockey Gods have steered me away from the Olde Towne during past playoff runs.
So, thanks to the Hockey Gods, for this East final. There is something about Penguins-Bruins – from shared color schemes and blue-collar bindings of the cities to the contrasting identities of the squads – that just makes this impending best-of-seven series seems like it will be special.
These ARE the two best built clubs in the Eastern Conference, and its last two to win the Cup. This should be epic: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4083066-74/penguins-iginla-bruins#axzz2UP541OoR
The #TribHKY coverage kicked off Sunday with these reports:
- Sidney Crosby knows what deep playoff runs are like, which is why he’s glad The New Guys are on his side: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4084787-74/penguins-shero-crosby#axzz2UP541OoR
- Ray Shero assesses his club after two playoff rounds: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4083040-74/shero-series-cup#axzz2UP541OoR
- Our Kevin Gorman with an outstanding look at what Dan Bylsma has had to internalize during a difficult stretch for his family and friends: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/4075636-74/bylsma-penguins-ryan#axzz2UP541OoR
= A lot of you are asking via social-media sites when the East final will start. The NHL will not announce a schedule until the West Final is set, at least partially. At least, that is what I’m told by the NHL.
The Penguins do hold the home-ice, meaning the series will open with Games 1 and 2 at Consol Energy Center before shift to Boston’s TD Garden for Games 3 and 4. However, TD Garden is booked for June 2-3 – next Sunday and Monday – for New Kids on the Block. (Really, KNOTB might force another two-day break or a back-to-back situation.) Also, the Garden has some other band – “the greatest in the world” – scheduled for June 12-14, if the East Final goes that far.
NBC will want the Penguins-Boston for this coming Saturday afternoon, count on that.
= Appearance No. 3 for me tonight on the “The Final Word,” the Trib’s joint-effort with WPXI to redefine how Sunday-night sports TV is done. All the details are here in columnist Dejan Kovacevic’s blog: http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/
That is all for today. Enjoy the holiday, all.