Penguins Notebook: Red Wings' Cup reminders don't faze Penguins
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DETROIT -- It is standard procedure at Joe Louis Arena to paint the names of those involved with Detroit's Stanley Cup-winning clubs -- everyone from executives to players to the team masseur -- on the concrete-block walls at ice level.
Those who had a part in the Red Wings' 2007-08 championship are listed on a wall just outside the corridor leading to the visiting team's dressing room.
That means the Penguins, who lost to Detroit in the Cup final this spring, had to walk past it on their way to the locker room for both the morning skate and the game last night against the Wings.
And while some, including winger Pascal Dupuis, professed not to have noticed the wall, not everyone was oblivious to it.
Unlike the wall-sized mural outside the visiting club's quarters at Scotiabank Place, which depicted the handshake line between the Penguins and Ottawa after the Senators eliminated the Penguins from the 2007 playoffs, the Penguins didn't take the Joe Louis display personally.
"On the way in, we noticed," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "That's just something they put up. They deserved to put that up.
"It's not like what Ottawa did last year. I think it's just a little extra motivation, although I don't think anyone's forgotten anything [about the Stanley Cup final] in five months."
Former Penguins goalie Ty Conklin, who signed with the Red Wings as a free agent in July, was adamant that he has no hard feelings toward his old team, and seemed to underscore that shortly before Detroit's game-day skate when he stopped by the Penguins' bench to renew acquaintances with players and staff members.
"I have nothing but great things to say about that whole organization," Conklin said. "From the players [to] the management to the fans, everybody. I feel pretty lucky to have played there, to be honest with you."
Conklin said he and Marian Hossa, another ex-Penguin, made a "pretty easy decision" when they opted to stay in the locker room while the Red Wings' championship banner was being raised last month.
"It wasn't our celebration," Conklin said. "It was theirs."
And while he would have liked to have had the start last night, simply because he appreciates every opportunity to play, Conklin didn't second-guess coach Mike Babcock's decision to go with No. 1 goalie Chris Osgood last night.
"Sure, it would be nice," he said. "But we've had three or four days off, and [Osgood] has been playing really well, and he's the starting goalie."
Some of the greatest intrigue surrounding the game last night might have centered on what, if anything, Hossa and some of his ex-teammates did the previous evening.
Hossa said he and some Penguins got together for dinner, but declined to identify any of those players -- "I won't tell the names," he said -- or to say how many there were because "it doesn't matter." A casual -- and admittedly less than comprehensive -- survey of the Penguins didn't turn up anyone who acknowledged being part of any such dinner group, and a team official said he was unaware of any players who had spent time with Hossa after the Penguins arrived Monday.
Hossa also said he didn't have any reservations about accepting a one-year deal with the Red Wings when other clubs, including the Penguins, were offering longer-term contracts because "that's why there are insurance policies."
First Published November 12, 2008 12:00 am