Today is an important day for the Penguins. A measuring stick of where they are at the given moment.
The Birds head into Washington for a huge match-up with the Capitals – a team that has beaten them on two occasions this season and has already clinched their division.
This is the type of game that could put them on the right track. Get them playing the way that they need to if they intend to make another long run. A game that could show the rest of the league that their Jekyll and Hyde approach to the game is a thing of the past.
The boys could use tonight to send a message to the dominant Caps, who have rolled through the regular season with relative ease. Saying “we are still the defending Champions and you will have to go through us” to get where you want to go.
Will all of that happen? I am not sure… but why not enjoy today’s Morning Pens Links while you think about it…
First up…an item that could have some effect on tonight’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. Forward Brooks Laich left practice yesterday after being struck in the face with a puck. Here is Tarik El-Bashir’s report.
Here is a piece from the New York Times discussing the steroid probe that the Capitals are being investigated as part of. This is not good news for them or the National Hockey League. Here’s hoping that this is a doctor’s last ditch attempt to deflect some heat from himself.
In keeping with the trend of yesterday’s comments from the Washington room, Dave Molinari has a piece in which Alex Ovechkin says the Pens are just another game. Others in the Caps room seem to realize that the road to Stanley will go through Pittsburgh…
Here is Dave Molinari’s Pens/Caps notebook… he breaks down the effect of Evgeni Malkin’s missed games on his team and Sidney Crosby. Theodore shuts up critics and more…
Rob Rossi is always great for coming up with these league-wide polls. In this one, he polls many NHL beat writers from around the league about where their MVP vote is heading this year. It looks more and more likely that Alex Ovechkin will again get the necessary support to win the Hart.
Bob Duff of the Windsor Star caught up with Mike Rupp and figured out which of his former teams he would be rooting for in the OHL playoffs. Rupp spent time with the Windsor Spitfires and Erie Otters during his junior days and the two are set to clash.
Former Penguins forward Aleksey Morozov is again leading his Ak Bars Kazan squad on a playoff run. Morozov picked up the game winner in a recent game to push his team to a 2-0 series lead over Evgeni Malkin’s alma mater Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
Mark Messier, who is serving as the General Manager for Team Canada at the World Championships, has named Craig Mactavish head coach of the team.
Brian Elliott might not have been the top dog selected from the goaltending pool back in 2003, as that honor went to Marc Andre Fleury. However, he is in the middle of a breakout season and has been key to the Senators’ success as of late! Elliott is really coming into his own as a number one goaltender in the NHL and last night picked earned back to back shut outs for the first time.