Penguins outdoor game at Penn State looms against Flyers
June 8, 2013 8:15 AM
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby shakes hands with the Bruins' Jaromir Jagr after the Bruins sweep the Penguins in four games.
By Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOSTON -- The Penguins' rivalry with Philadelphia might be going to a new level.
Or at least to a different setting.
The Penguins and Flyers have had informal talks about playing an outdoor game at Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus.
"It would be great for Pennsylvania hockey," Penguins CEO David Morehouse said Friday.
The talks have been between Morehouse and Flyers president Peter Luukko, who confirmed them to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Luukko told the Inquirer that Penn State is "very interested" in being the site of such a game.
Because the Penguins are committed to play an outdoor game against Chicago at Soldier Field next winter, they likely would not be able to play the Flyers at Penn State until at least the 2014-15 season.
A Penguins-Flyers game most likely would not be a Winter Classic, which is a specific annual event on the NHL calendar, but would be one of the "satellite" outdoor games that will begin taking place in 2013-14 in places such as New York's Yankees Stadium and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The official website of Penn State athletics lists Beaver Stadium's capacity as 106,572, although numerous football games there have drawn crowds of several thousand more.
Bruins' position shocks Bruins
A week ago, not many people expected Boston to be in a position to close out the Eastern Conference final Friday night. And none, it seems, were based in the Bruins locker room.
"It's not something you ever think is going to happen, especially against a team like Pittsburgh," Boston left winger Brad Marchand said before Game 4. "We're very, very lucky right now.
"A few of those games could have gone the other way if a few of their plays would have connected. [Game 3, a 2-1 double-overtime victory for Boston], they deserved to win, but we got a little lucky.
"We're definitely happy with where we're at, but we never thought it would happen."
Boston winger Nathan Horton doesn't think anyone looks for series sweeps.
"I think it's surprising to anybody if [you're in position] to try to sweep in this day and age," Horton said. "There's so much competition."
Replacing Campbell not easy
Boston lost a valuable role player for the balance of its season when forward Gregory Campbell's right leg was broken when he blocked an Evgeni Malkin shot while killing a penalty in Game 3.
Bruins coach Claude Julien chose left winger Kaspars Daugavins to take Campbell's spot in the lineup, but realized it wouldn't be that easy to actually replace Campbell, a role player whose value is significantly higher than his profile.
"You don't replace a guy like Gregory Campbell by putting another guy in there," Julien said. "He brings a lot. It's when you lose a guy like him, you realize the hole that he's left.
"Like every other team, you have to find ways to fill it, some of it will be by other bodies, some of it will be by other guys stepping in."
The selection of Daugavins was interesting because Julien bypassed veteran Jay Pandolfo, a capable penalty-killer. That is not part of Daugavins' usual job description.
Two sides to Jagr
There are two things that help define Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr, and they both came up the past couple of days.
The first is how Jagr -- who set up Boston's winning goal in double overtime in Game 3 -- keeps going at age 41.
"You've got to give a lot of credit to his commitment to conditioning, and we all know at that age if you're not a well-conditioned athlete you're not going to survive," Julien said. "He really does a lot of extra work."
Jagr, a former Penguins star, is known for late-night skates and other extra workouts.
"I know a lot of people laugh at all the different things he does after a game and going out late and shooting pucks in weight belts and everything else, but he's committed and dedicated to the conditioning part of his game, and that's what's allowed him to stay on top of his game as much as he can for a guy that age," Julien said.
Then, there's the playful side.
When the Bruins opened their locker room to a throng of reporters after the morning skate Friday, Jagr positioned himself at the door as writers, radio reporters, television sportscasters, etc., started filing in.
He counted them, out loud, and threatened to cut it off at 100 because of fire safety concerns -- even stopping an unsuspecting camera guy who was No. 101 -- before walking away with a big grin and without doing interviews.