PITTSBURGH–Update 11:29 a.m.: Mike Sullivan is in playoff form. Derick Brassard did not skate this morning. Will he play tonight?
“All players are a game-time decision.”
Sullivan did offer some insight into the Flyers strengths, and his assessment was echoed by Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s series breakdown. Get ready for the term, “late wave” defenseman.
The Flyers defenseman like to trail the play then take advantage of defensive zone gaps. Read more about it in the breakdown.
Sullivan also expressed his love of Phil Kessel conversations.
“He has no filter. I love that,” Sullivan said.
Update 11:03 a.m.: The Penguins didn’t much break a sweat in the morning skate. For a veteran team staring at Mt. Everest one more time, a morning skate has the same importance as the snack table. Actually, less.
Derick Brassard did not skate this morning, after two straight days of on-ice work including yesterday’s practice. In the past, the Penguins have put the backup goalie in the starters net (Round One, 2016), and let Nick Bonino try to put his broken leg on skates (SCF 2017). So, Brassard’s absence, while intriguing is not necessarily a precursor.
Jake Guentzel was a rookie last season. He was dropped into the playoff fire and his contributions were a welcome bonus. This season, those contributions will be mandatory.
“You kind of know what to expect a little bit now, how hard it’s going to be,” Guentzel said.
Last year before Game One against Columbus, Guentzel was “really excited. really nervous,” he laughed. “I don’t know if I got comfortable. Just the nerves and how excited I was to play in each round.”
Bryan Rust understands the history of the rivalry, even is he was only a sophomore at Notre Dame in 2012. For the record, Rust has 11 points in 40 games that season.
“There’s been a lot of history between these two teams and organizations. And it’s going to make it more interesting.”
Pittsburgh Hockey Now had a brief moment with Rust and asked about the penalty kill. Will the pressure of the situation help the PK?
“Just knowing what’s at stake will keep guys a little more focused and dialed in for the whole PK,” Rust said. “And….(Rust smiled)…limit those mistakes which give guys Grade A (chances).”
PITTSBURGH — With the start of Penguins-Flyers set for 7 p.m., I’m at PPG Paints Arena for the first morning skate of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.
I’ll let you know who broke a sweat, who sat it out and any choice lines from the mouths of Penguins (or Flyers) afterward.
Derick Brassard practiced each of the past two days, so he’s on track to play in Game 1, but if anything changes we’ll let you know. Keep it right here for updates!
Also, make sure to take a look at our PHN staff predictions for the playoffs, posted this morning.