Penguins notebook: Jokinen makes a fast role change


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Jussi Jokinen had 11 points in 10 regular-season games after the Penguins acquired him from Carolina at the NHL trade deadline.

Picked up a couple of assists in their 5-0 victory against the New York Islanders in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders, too.

None of which prevented him from being bumped down from the second line to the fourth for Game 2 of the opening-round series Friday night at Consol Energy Center.

That switch, however, did not reflect any unhappiness on the part of coach Dan Bylsma with Jokinen's performance.

Rather, with Sidney Crosby returning to the lineup after a 13-game absence because of a broken jaw, it was testimony to Jokinen's versatility that he would be shifted into a significantly different role and expected to make a seamless transition.

"When and if you play a reduced amount of minutes, you're not as in the game as much, you're not on the ice as much," Bylsma said. "You have to be mentally prepared for those situations, and I think Jussi's actually done already that for us."

Boston on Strait's mind, too

Islanders defenseman Brian Strait is all in when it comes to the team's playoff series against his former club, the Penguins, but his thoughts never are too far from his hometown.

Strait is from suburban Boston and played at Boston University, so the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings affected him.

"I had a lot of close friends and family that were down there that day," he said.

"Scary moment. I didn't know anybody personally that was a victim. My heart goes out to all those people.

"I was watching closely every day about it. That whole week was very dramatic."

Strait is from Waltham, which is next to Watertown, where one of the suspects was apprehended four days after the bombings.

"It's close to home," Strait said.

"My parents were in lockdown. It's a scary thing, to think that something like that can happen in this country.

"I'm glad that Boston is on its way back and recovering from it. It's going to be a long road, though."

Sutter family ignores history

There was a time when no fewer than six Sutter brothers were playing in the NHL. Two of them, Brent and Duane, were forwards on the Islanders, who, in the midst of a run of four consecutive Stanley Cup titles, nearly were upset by the Penguins in 1982.

Penguins center Brandon Sutter is Brent's son and Duane's nephew, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that, at some point, he heard the previous generation tell tales from that series.

Turns out that isn't the case, though.

"I'm sure they talk about it," Brandon Sutter said, "but that's long before me."

Education for Tavares

Islanders center John Tavares, virtually suffocated by the Penguins in Game 1, said his first playoff experience was significantly different than a regular-season game.

"It's definitely the intensity, everything is amplified," Tavares said.

"Every little detail is. The intensity and the passion of the players and fans and everyone involved."

Tavares led New York in scoring for the fourth consecutive regular season with 28 goals and 19 assists in 48 games.

Tip-ins

In addition to winger James Neal and defenseman Brooks Orpik, both of whom have unspecified injuries, the Penguins scratched forwards Tyler Kennedy, Dustin Jeffrey and Joe Vitale and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres. ... Center Marty Reasoner headlined New York's scratches.

mobilehome - penguins

Jenn Menendez contributed to this report. Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published May 4, 2013 4:00 AM


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