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Rossi: Habs maybe what Pens need most.

As so-called dream opponents go, the Montreal Canadiens might top the list for the Penguins in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That is not to suggest the Canadiens would prove an easy opponent. They would not, because – and this is something to always remember – the playoffs are about styles, and the Canadiens offer a stylistic challenge to the Penguins.

This is to suggest that the Penguins might benefit from facing such a stylistic challenge early and that beating the Canadiens would require from coach Dan Bylsma’s squad an attention to detail that must be drawn from players for a successful Cup run.

The Penguins were not flawless Wednesday night, but they certainly were focused. They tend to get that way, especially at home, against the Canadiens. That is because they do not like a lot of Montreal’s players – P.K. Subban and Carey Price being Nos. 1 and 2 on that list.

The Penguins played with the right amount of distaste and discipline on Wednesday night. That combination works in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If you are one of those people wondering if this team has what it takes for playoff hockey, go back and watch how the Penguins looked on Wednesday night. Forget the score, or even the goals, and rather look at Evgeni Malkin’s aggressiveness on the puck, Kris Letang’s quick, short passes and Marc-Andre Fleury’s tone-setting play around the crease.

That was the important stuff that happened on Wednesday night, not a near goalies fight.

 

>> Canada unveiled its Olympic flag bearer on Thursday, and that person is not Sidney Crosby. This is likely how Crosby would have wished.

Carrying the flag at the Olympic opening ceremonies would have required Crosby to miss two regular-season games for the Penguins. Anybody who thinks Crosby would absolutely choose carrying Canada’s flag has never had a conversation with him about the importance of how he is viewed in Pittsburgh.

Crosby is all about loyalty, and loyal people never want to be in a position where they have to pick sides.

 

>> Forward Zach Sill was re-assigned to AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday. Probably not the last from him that will be heard, but the Penguins, when healthy, and they are trending that way, are in a bind regarding players on one-way NHL contracts. Sill is not one of those players, so…

 

 

LINKS N’AT

>> Yohe contributed, but newest #TribHKY teammate Chris Adamski has a notebook that leads with Michel Therrien’s always emotional return to Pittsburgh: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5448135-74/penguins-fleury-coach#axzz2rENLyPBj

>> The story of the latest Penguins’ victory was a matchup that Bylsma made use of against Therrien: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/pensgalleries/5448134-74/malkin-crosby-penguins#axzz2rENLyPBj

>> Columnist Dejan Kovacevic on trading Letang: http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/5448123-74/letang-trade-penguins#axzz2rENLyPBj

Be EXCELLENT to each other,

Rossi

 

 

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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