Penguins Notebook: Numbers mean nothing to them
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stops a shot by center Sidney Crosby during practice yesterday at Mellon Arena before leaving for Detroit to play Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
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DETROIT -- The numbers leave little room for interpretation. The Detroit Red Wings are 11-1 at Joe Louis Arena during the 2009 playoffs, and the home team has won the first six games of the Stanley Cup final.
Imposing as those statistics are, however, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik believes it is possible to overstate their significance as his team and the Red Wings prepare for Game 7 of the Cup final tonight.
"I don't know how much of an advantage there is to playing at home," Orpik said yesterday. "When you get to a Game 7, it's kind of a crap shoot. It's just whoever plays better that night. Streaks are meant to be broken, so we might as well do it now."
There is a dry-erase board in the Penguins' lounge area in Mellon Arena that generally lists information about practice times and sites, flight times and other such mundane matters.
There was not a single word written on it as the Penguins were preparing to head to the airport for their mid-afternoon flight to Michigan.
Nothing but a photo of the Stanley Cup, with a Penguins logo and the message "Yes, We Can" emblazoned on it.
Ruslan Fedotenko, Craig Adams and injured right winger Petr Sykora are the only Penguins with experience in Game 7 of a Stanley Cup final, but Jordan Staal has a pretty good source for a secondhand account of what it is like, if he wants it: His older brother, Carolina center Eric Staal, was Adams' teammate when the Hurricanes beat Edmonton three years ago.
But Jordan Staal, whose strong defensive work neutralized his brother during the Eastern Conference final, said the two have not spoken recently.
"He's on the beach somewhere on vacation, so I haven't called him about a little advice," he said. "I watched his Game 7 [in 2006].
"I think I understand, I think everyone in this room understands the stakes, where we're at. We're just going to go out and play. We're going to play as hard as we can, and we'll go from there."
Sykora blocked just 20 shots in 76 regular-season games to tie for 18th-most on the team, and the one he blocked during Game 6 Tuesday was his only one in seven playoff appearances.
Sykora got a broken right foot -- and some heartfelt respect from his coworkers -- for his trouble.
"It shows you what the playoffs are all about," coach Dan Bylsma said.
"This is a guy the team counts on to score goals and put it in the net. He gets his chance to get in there for Game 6, and what he does is block a shot and get the puck out from his knees.
"He went in there to score, but he went in there to battle and lay it on the line. He goes down and blocks a shot. We got a chuckle about the fact that he blocked a shot, but that was a huge lift to our team."
Bylsma, has declined to rule Sykora out for Game 7, opting to list him as "day-to-day."
As expected, Miroslav Satan practiced in Sykora's spot on the fourth line with Adams and Pascal Dupuis yesterday. Sykora had bumped Satan out of the lineup for Game 6.
Penguins owner Mario Lemieux has been named to the National Order of Quebec, the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed by his home province. Lemieux will receive the rank of Knight and be honored with 33 others during a ceremony in Quebec's parliament Wednesday. ... The Penguins devoted a significant portion of practice yesterday to special-teams play.
First Published June 12, 2009 12:00 am