The Penguins are back at practice Friday.
They took off Thursday, and for some reason this was met with great negativity on the social media/talk show scene – even though the Penguins had played three games, two overtime ones, in five days; even though the labor contract mandates players get one day off each week; even though players were required to attend meetings and film-study sessions at Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins, like the Blue Jackets, did not practice – on the ice – Thursday, and this was some sort of sign of what is wrong with them in Round 1.
Here is what is wrong:
Marc-Andre Fleury went to play a puck behind his net, and it hopped badly over his stick blade.
If that does not happen, this series in 3-1 and the Penguins are looking to clinch at home Saturday night.
To be fair, the series could be 3-1 in favor of Columbus, too. It’s been that close through Games 1-4.
It’s also been wild – blown multiple-goal leads in Games 1-4 for the first time in NHL history – and wonderfully dramatic. Mostly, though, it’s been what I expected: tight, hard, and never really with the Penguins in danger of losing.
Yeah, they still haven’t trailed in terms of games.
Oh, and they would not have practiced had the won Game 4. That decision had been made the off-day between Games 3 and 4.
Schedules are released by the Penguins to start every month, before every playoff round. Those schedules identify reserved ice times. They are not set-in-stone plans.
Those schedules change a lot. Anyone that spends his or days around the Penguins has come to expect schedule changes.
Here is what really represents news when it comes to teams and practices: A scheduled day off being sacked in favor of practice.
Of course, since the sky above the Penguins is always falling, not practicing Thursday is absolutely a sign that everything is wrong with everyone everywhere.
Thank goodness there is practice Friday. That will change the hockey world.
>> Speaking of the hockey world, our local one has become pretty glum, as columnist Joe Starkey opines: http://triblive.com/sports/joestarkey/5983382-74/penguins-team-game#axzz2zlpPLkMm
>> Coach Dan Bylsma delivered a message Thursday. It was really just stating the obvious, but it was not wrong: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5983374-74/bylsma-game-fleury#axzz2zlpPLkMm
>> Captain Sidney Crosby is healthy, or is he? http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6002635-74/crosby-penguins-game#axzz2zlpPLkMm
>> Josh Yohe’s #TribHKY Insider looks at Paul Martin’s big run to open the playoffs: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6003027-74/penguins-martin-game#axzz2zlpPLkMm
>> Contributor Craig Merz writes that Brandon Dubinsky is having himself quite a Round 1 for Columbus: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5983384-74/dubinsky-game-blue#axzz2zlpPLkMm
>> Rachel Farkas on the Penguins’ soon-to-be practice facility: http://triblive.com/news/butler/6001840-74/facility-sports-upmc#axzz2zlpPLkMm
Be EXCELLENT to each other,