Let’s start with a transcript of Sidney Crosby’s meeting with reporters after tonight’s game.
Crosby didn’t play in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers, as the Penguins sat a large percentage of their lineup regulars, but he talked about winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer for the second time in his career.
The first time Crosby won the trophy, when he scored 51 goals in 2009-10, he had the award when Steven Stamkos scored an empty netter with 13 seconds left in Tampa Bay’s season finale.
Crosby said he blames Rick Tocchet, Tampa’s head coach that season, for drawing up the play that got Stamkos the last goal. I think he was joking. I think.
On winning a second Rocket Richard Trophy:
“When I won it in 2010, I probably didn’t think it was something I’d get another chance at. Just one of those years where the puck seemed to find the back of the net a little bit more. Typically, I don’t think 44 is enough to get it, but it kind of worked out that way this year. It’s nice. Get ready for the playoffs now.”
On any changes to his game this season that led to more goals:
“The biggest chance is probably playing the middle on the power play a little bit more. I’m used to playing half-wall and down low. I was probably in the middle more than I have been in the past.”
On how the team’s playing on the eve of the playoffs:
“I think the last few weeks we’ve found another level as far as our desperation and the details. You’re always looking to find that as you go along, as you get closer. I think we feel comfortable and confident with that. I still think, even with that, there’s a point in the playoffs where you have to raise your game and elevate it and get better with each game. We’ll have to do that right off the start. With all the injuries we’ve had, finding ways to get through that, I think we’ve done a pretty good job and put ourselves in the right frame of mind and the right spot going into the playoffs.”
On what to expect from Columbus:
“Physical series. You look at the games we played them this year. I think, beside one, they were all pretty tight games, very similar, lot of intensity, a lot of emotion. Being the playoffs, you expect that to be even more. It’ll be a physical series and a good test for us.”
On how he feels physically heading into the playoff grind:
“I feel good. I don’t think you look at it necessarily that way. Usually you look at the first series and that one, everyone’s so amped up for that that sometimes those are the most physical ones, the first ones. I feel good. The fact that we’ve played a lot of hockey is something that is good for us, to draw on all those experiences.”
On John Tortorella saying Mike Sullivan has changed the demeanor of the Penguins:
“I’m not sure. Certainly as far as our identity, I think it’s very clear how he wants us to play and what he expects of us as a team and individually. Maybe that’s what he’s talking about when he says the demeanor. As a group, with last year, going through what we did, I think we found out the way we need to play and what our strengths are. He’s probably a big reason for that. I would agree. I don’t know what he means totally, but those are the things, as a player, that I probably recognize the most.”
Some notes from tonight’s game:
— A very solid 22-save performance from Tristan Jarry, including this ridiculous piece of work:
Simply extraordinary. pic.twitter.com/yg91cajMsl
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 10, 2017
Jarry on that save: “It’s just one of those things that happens. I guess I was lucky enough to get my stick over and it went off my stick. I was able to catch it after that. It was one of those things where I was trying to track it as best I could and trying to stop it.”
Jarry on his NHL debut: “I think my goal this year is to get better and better every day. I think, from the beginning of the year until now, it’s been a huge stepping stone for me, from my practices to my games. I think, with the help of Mike Buckley and Mike Bales, my game has come a long way from when I was drafted when I was 18 to now turning 22. I think it’s one of those things where I have to keep working. My goal is to be better and better.”
— A final scratch count tonight. Crosby, Sheary, Guentzel, Rust, Cullen, Malkin, Hagelin, Cole, Schultz, Daley, Ruhwedel, Letang, Murray, Kunitz. Don’t think I forgot anyone.
Ruhwedel was wearing some kind of protective device on his right wrist after the game. Not sure what his status is. Of the others, only Malkin, Hagelin, Letang and Kunitz were believed to be scratched due to injury.
— The most important thing to take from tonight’s game is probably that no one else got hurt. Seriously.
So much of how the Penguins fare against Columbus is going to be determined by who’s in the lineup and what kind of form are they going to be in once they dress. Last thing they needed was more injuries tonight.
Nick Bonino on that:
“I think that’s the point of the last few days, resting guys and getting through these games with the right habits and, knock on wood, staying healthy. We’re all excited to get going here.”
Bye for now,