Glass happy with the Rangers, Vigneault - 04-16-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Last season, Tanner Glass watched most of the Penguins' second-round series against the Rangers from a press box or on television as he was a healthy scratch for five of the series' seven games.

When Game 1 of this season's re-match in the first round begins tonight, he'll be watching the Penguins again but from his end of  the ice.

Cut loose by the Penguins last offseason as a free agent, Glass joined the Rangers as a free agent when he signed a three-year contract which reunited him with head coach Alain Vigneault, a man he played for with the Canucks.

Glass, 31, appeared in 66 games this season and recorded six points (one goal, five assists) while leading the team with 98 penalty minutes. He is expected to line up on the Rangers' fourth line tonight along with former Penguins Dominic Moore and right winger Jesper Fast.

After today's morning skate at Madison Square Garden, he held court with the media:

What is your feel for the series?

"I think it's going to be a good series. Both very good team. It's funny, [we] finish first overall in the league and you get the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. It's not how you draw it up but I think it's going to be a great series. Both teams have a lot of firepower and can skate well."

What are the Rangers' strengths?

"I think it's our team speed overall, both going on the offense and coming back [on defense]. We pride ourselves on being a quick transition team and then also [being a team] that pushes really hard from behind and kind of forces the rush into our [defense] and our [defense] staying up and playing good gap. That's kind of our [modus operandi].”

Comparing Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

"Both goalies are world class goalies. I've seen both guys bail me out on numerous occasions so I know how each one of them can steal a game or steal a series for you."

What's different for this Penguins team compared to last season's team?

"I think they're pretty different. You look at the [defensive] corp., not a lot of familiar names for me. I think that's one of the biggest differences. It's a pretty different make up. I think not only [trading former left winger] James Neal makes a different look for those guys. He's such a big shooter and he plays more of a slow-it-down game. You've got [right winger Patric] Hornqvist in in there. He's a kind of a go-to-the net guy. And [left winger David] Perron, he's got some bite to his game too. A little different look but the main parts are still there."

Are you surprised they struggled to get into the playoffs?

"Just knowing the kind of guys they have in that room and the veteran leadership and guys who have been through the [battles] before, you never expect them to have struggles like that. But all you've got to do is get in. Knowing the kind of guys the have in [their dressing room], I'm sure they'll be chomping at the bit."

Even if you're a top seed, success in the postseason is hardly guaranteed.

"It's tough. I've come within one game of it in the past [with the Canucks in 2011]. We expect to have a long run here and expect to be good but it starts with Game 1 and you can't look beyond that."

You played for head coach Alain Vigneault in Vancouver. Why do you seem to have your greatest success under him?

"He likes to play a fast game and a good transition game. I think he respects my game, being physical and hounding other team's [defense] and good players. I don't know. I just like the way he does things. I think he's got a saying, 'There's a right way to play.' I think he's got it figured out that it really is the right way."

It's a cliched question, but is there any extra motivation for you against this opponent?

"Not really. No, I just want to win."

With injuries on the Penguins' defense, Paul Martin figures to log a lot of ice time. How much do you have to target him?

"That's one of the things I said in the [scouting meeting] was we got to be tough on this guys. He's a good player. He's going to play a lot of minutes. And he's someone we've got to slow down. He can move the puck as well as anyone in this league. He's a very underrated player. He's one of the top [defenseman] in the league. He's a very important player in this series."

(Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)

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Penguins - Rangers preview - 04-16-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins vs. Rangers

Penguins Leading Regular Season Scorer: Center Sidney Crosby (right), 84 points (28 goals, 56 assists).

Rangers Leading Regular Season Scorer: Left winger Rick Nash (below), 69 points (42 goals, 27 assists).

Penguins Expected Starting Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fleury, 34-20-9, 2.32 GAA, .920 SV%

Rangers Expected Starting Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist, 30-13-3, 2.25 GAA, .922 SV%.

Penguins Regular Season Statistics

Rangers Regular Season Statistics

Penguins Injuries: Defensemen Derrick Pouliot ("upper body"), Christian Ehrhoff (suspected) concussion) and Kris Letang (concussion) are out. Right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clot) and defenseman Olli Maatta (right shoulder) are on injured reserve.

Rangers Injuries: Defenseman Marc Staal (undisclosed) and Nash (illness) are probable. Defenseman Kevin Klein (forearm) is out.

Penguins with Stanley Cup bling: Right winger Craig Adams, Dupuis, defensemen Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, centers Evgeni Malkin, Crosby, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and left winger Chris Kunitz.

Rangers with Stanley Cup bling: Defenseman Dan Boyle, right winger Martin St. Louis.

Something worthwhile about the Penguins: The Penguins (0-18-5) were the only team in the NHL which failed to win a game while trailing after two periods this past regular season.

Something worthwhile about the Rangers: The Rangers (29-2-3) had the most wins in the NHL this past regular season when leading after one period.

Something useless about the Penguins that is vaguely connected to the Rangers: Former Rangers left winger Kevin Stevens is the Penguins' career leader in penalty minutes (170).

Something useless about the Rangers that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The Rangers' franchise record for penalty minutes in a playoff series is 214. They set that mark in a 1989 Patrick Division semifinal series which was won in only four games by the Penguins.

Former Rangerson the Penguins: Dupuis.

Former Penguins on the Rangers: Left winger Tanner Glass, professional scout Rick Kehoe, center Dominic Moore, assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson.

Who needs to be the difference for the Penguins: Paul Martin, Ian Cole, Rob Scuderi, Ben Lovejoy, etc. The Penguins leaned on their remaining healthy defensemen quite a bit in the late stages of the season. Now with the benefit of playing with six healthy defensemen, they'll need to manage their ice time and try to limit the scoring depth the Rangers possess .

Who needs to be the difference for the Rangers: Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, etc. The Rangers have one of the NHL's deepest blue lines. They'll need to clamp down on the Penguins few consistent offensive weapons.

Best Penguins YouTube Video We Could Find: Penguins right winger Bill Guerin's overtime goal in Game 2 of a 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Flyers:

Best Rangers YouTube Video We Could Find: Rangers left winger Esa Tikkanen's series-clinching overtime goal in Game 5 of a 1996 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Panthers:

EN Prediction: The Penguins needed to scrape out a narrow 2-0 win on the road against the Sabres, the NHL's worst team, in the final game of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs. The Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy. For the Penguins, avoiding a sweep will be a considerable accomplishment. Rangers 4-1.

(Photos: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images and Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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Pawlowski running for Senate?

Our friend Laura Olson of the Allentown Call, along with her colleague, Emily Opilo,  report that Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is about to jump into the Democratic race to challenge Sen. Pat Toomey.  Mr. Pawlowski had acknowledged earlier  that he was considering the race.  He did not immediately respond to a request for...

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Empty Netter Assists - The playoffs begin - 04-16-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Rangers

-“I think Mike is pretty direct, straightforward, honest. I like the way he sees the game and wants us to play. For me, too, it’s been good because it’s a little more defensive than I’ve been used to. It’s been really good.” - Marc-Andre Fleury on Mike Johnston.

-For the first time since 2010, Sidney Crosby enters the playoffs healthy.

-The Penguins are going to get contributions from their role players ... right?

-“I’ve played with first-line guys before, but I didn’t think that when I got traded here I would be on a line with Sidney Crosby. It’s been fun.” - Daniel Winnik.

-What is it?

-Crosby speaks:

-Johnston speaks:

-Christian Ehrhoff:

-Rangers forward Rick Nash missed Wednesday's practice due to an illness. He is expected to play in tonight's Game 1.

-“It’s pretty cool. In last year’s series (against the Penguins), I only played in one game. It’s great to have the opportunity to play against guys you grew up rooting for, but you try to put those emotions aside.” - Rangers forward J.T. Miller, a native of East Palestine, Ohio, on playing the Penguins.

-"He's very straightforward. He holds everyone to the same standards, whether you're Rick Nash or Jesper Fast or Marty St. Louis, and I think guys appreciate that. In some places, it's not the same for every guy. It's important for the room that every guy is held accountable . . . He lets his coaches run their part of the game plan, but it's his ship, make no mistake." - Rangers forward and former Penguin Tanner Glass on playing for coach Alain Vigneault.

-With defenseman Kevin Klein sidelined due to an arm injury, Rangers defenseman Matt Hunwick is getting in the lineup.

-SportsNet's/Hockey Night in Canada's playoff opening montage:

-After the Jump: The first night of the playoffs offered plenty of drama.

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Ghent and Bruges: Artistic treasures enshrined in vibrant cities of canals, daffodils and celebrations

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog madonna 1

Today we saw two of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands and in each we saw art treasures stolen by the Nazis and eventually recovered by a team of art scholars known as the Monuments Men.

Ghent and Bruges are both stunning and were highlighted in the movie of the same title starring George Clooney and an all-star cast.

blog impression

Like most cities in the region they are crisscrossed by canals which offer beautiful reflections of tourists and locals exploring the city, especially early or late in the day.

blog harp

The soothing music of a harp echoed in the halls of Sant Bavo Cathedral as we walked over the marble floors. Marc F.M. Hebnelinck played beautifully as we were taken to see the Ghent Altarpiece, one of the two pieces of art from the movie. This amazing work by Jan van Eyck is thought to be painted sometime between 1430 and 1432.

blog ghent altar piece

As both a history and movie buff, seeing the huge panels in person was a real treat.

blog bride

While headed back to the bus, we stumbled on to a bride and groom who were just married and probably headed to their reception. We joined locals in congratulating them and they were thrilled to be photographed by so many people.

bog daffs wide

Bruges is an ancient city and we were finally treated to something we longed for since landing in the Netherlands, a large stand of daffodils which illuminated the center of town.

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The courtyard of Monasterium "De Wijngaard" was filled with white and yellow blooms welcoming spring. A day of sunshine and temperatures reaching the 70's is a treat this time of the year here as everyone under 40 had on as few clothes as possible to soak up the sun.

Although I was captivated by the city, there was only one goal in mind, to see the famous Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. It’s located in the Church of our Lady and cost three Euros to see. This piece was the hinge pin of the movie, a historic treasure and is one of the artist's few works to leave Italy.

My enthusiasm was infectious. While walking and talking with a leader from another tour group who also knew the amazing history of the Madonna and Child, she was persuaded to leave her travelers with a colleague and join me to see the artwork


blog kneel

While we stood in front of the statue in awe, a woman walked up to the altar, knelt down and bowed her head.

It was fitting tribute to all those who lost their lives all those years ago, returning this masterpiece to its rightful place.

(Top image: Michelangelo's Madonna and Child. Doug Oster photos)

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