Players' eyes drift west before start of East final

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With what looks like at least a week between series, the Penguins have been tracking the Western Conference semifinals.

But not necessarily every minute of every game.

Forwards Craig Adams and Pascal Dupuis said they are watching those games "a little bit," with Dupuis adding that because some of them are late at night in the east, sometimes he just catches the highlights.

If the Penguins can get past the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference final -- a series that will start Saturday -- they will play one of those Western Conference teams.

Los Angeles defeated San Jose to win one semifinal series in a Game 7. Chicago and Detroit will do likewise tonight.

That doesn't mean the Penguins are watching those teams with an eye toward plotting strategy.

"It's more out of interest and entertainment," Adams said. "There's no point in trying to game plan for four different teams.

"We've got other things to worry about."

Dupuis admitted to doing a little analysis.

"I will watch them as a hockey fan, and, at the same time, I try to learn, understand what they're doing out there a little bit," he said.

Impressed by Jagr

Penguins winger Brenden Morrow and Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr were teammates in Dallas for less than a season, but that was long enough for Jagr to make an impression on Morrow.

Jagr, 41, no longer produces at anything close to the level he did in his prime -- he has no goals and four assists in 12 playoff games this spring -- but his commitment to his craft was hard to miss, Morrow said.

Jagr put in some of his celebrated late-night workouts at the Stars' practice facility, Morrow said, and consistently worked to get his game to the highest possible level.

"As a fan, you just think, 'Why were [superstars] given such talent?' " he said. "Then, you play with them and see the amount of work guys like Sid [Crosby] and Jagr put in ... at the rink before they're on the ice, and then amount of work they do in practice.

"That was something you learned from [Jagr]. I think he wanted to be the best, and he was willing to work to get it."

Bruins injuries alter mix

If not for a series of injuries to Boston defensemen, Torey Krug might not be in the NHL today.

And if Krug wasn't in the NHL today, the Bruins might not be in the Eastern Conference final.

The Bruins entered their second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers without defensemen Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, opening spots for Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Krug.

Hamilton lost his place in the lineup when Seidenberg returned, but Bartkowski and Krug will be tough for almost anyone to dislodge.

Krug, who is undersized and was undrafted, scored four goals (three on the power play) in five games against New York.

"He's played with lots of confidence," Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen said. "He's playing really well. He has a good shot.

"Obviously, we need to know his strengths and to be able to deny his shots the best we can."

A balancing act

After practicing Sunday and Monday, the Penguins were given Tuesday off. With the Boston series not expected to start for at least a couple of more days, they could get another day off, maybe Thursday. They also were off Saturday, the day after they eliminated Ottawa.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is balancing rest and practice and has said he does not want to go two days in a row without a practice.

Bruins coach Claude Julien took a different approach. He gave his team two days off in a row after Boston eliminated the New York Rangers Saturday.

The Bruins got back to practice Tuesday, and Julien indicated they likely would not take more days off before the series begins.

WBS gets some help

The Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton signed two of the club's top prospects to amateur tryout agreements.

Defensemen Scott Harrington (second-round draft pick, 2011) and Olli Maatta (first round, 2012) were junior teammates with London, which won the Ontario Junior Hockey League championship and advanced to the Memorial Cup, and both will be eligible to play immediately for the Penguins' minor league club without burning a year of their entry-level contracts.

Harrington, 20, was London's captain and had three goals, 19 points in 50 games, plus another four assists in 17 postseason games. For his junior career, he had a plus-58 plus-minus rating. Maatta, 17, had eight goals, 38 points in 57 games. In two playoff seasons with London, he has 10 goals, 37 points in 41 games.

Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are tied, 1-1, in the Eastern Conference final with Game 3 scheduled tonight at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

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Shelly Anderson:, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. Dave Molinari: and Twitter @MolinariPG.


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