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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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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What is it? - 04-15-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


(Note: This is an updated version of something we've published at the start of the playoffs the past few seasons. It's something we get a lot of feedback on and we always enjoy writing it.)

If someone were to ask us what the Stanley Cup playoffs mean to us, we'd have a hard time giving a simple, concise answer.

-It's Bobby Orr leaping through the air.

-It's the Miracle on Manchester.

-It's Bill Guerin finding the little opening on Martin Biron.

-It's Richard Brodeur not being camera friendly.

-It's Kris Letang keeping the Penguins alive.

-It's Steve Yzerman lifting the Stanley Cup with one knee.

-It's Doug Weight lifting the Stanley Cup with one shoulder.

-It's Pat LaFontaine ending a long, exhaustive Easter Sunday.

-It's Vladimir Konstantinov flipping Claude Lemieux.

-It's Bobby Ryan making David Legwand look like a pylon.

-It's the reason Joe Louis Arena smells like fish.

-It's Benoit Pouliot scoring Derick Brassard's goal.

-It's Jaromir Jagr beating the Devils on two bad groins.

-It's Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier duking it out when it mattered most.

-It's "The Save."

-It's 1940, 1955, 1961, 1967, 1972 and 1975.

-It's Milan Lucic being a bad sport.

-It's Mike Crombeen taking advantage of some poor defensive zone coverage by Randy Carlyle.

-It's Jason Arnott taking advantage of some poor defensive zone coverage by Sylvain Cote.

-It's Dave Andreychuk and Ray Bourque finally getting to touch the Cup.

-It's George Ferguson blowing by Ken Breitenbach.

-It's Dale Hunter tearing through the Flyers' defense.

-It's Bryan Bickell avoiding Josh Harding's poke check.

-It's the hole in Cam Ward's glove.

-It's David #*&! Volek.

-It's John Tonelli.

-It's Ed Westfall.

-It's Brooks Orpik.

-It's plastic rats.

-It's Wayne Gretzky's blowing one by Mike Vernon's glove hand.

-It's "Bury Graves."

-It's Nathan Horton taking advantage of a screen.

-It's Evgeni Malkin having enough of Henrik Zetterberg.

-It's Jarret Stoll finding just enough space on Cory Schneider.

-It's "The Geno."

-It's Nino Niederreiter ringing the bell.

-It's Mike Green letting Dominic Moore walk right in.

-It's Mike Green letting Vincent Lecavalier walk right in.

-It's Ken Wregget stopping Joe Juneau and Mike Richter stopping Pavel Bure on penalty shots.

-It's Semyon Varlamov robbing Sidney Crosby.

-It's "May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day! May Day!"

-It's Patrick Roy raising his hand prematurely.

-It's Damien Brunner cleaning up the garbage.

-It's Ty Conklin making a mistake at a terrible time.

-It's Matt Cooke barging in at the last second (or the last 5.7 seconds to be precise).

-It's Brett Hull's foot in the crease.

-It's Patrick Marleau ending the Canucks' season.

-It's Andrew Shaw's bloody celebration.

-It's David Steckel sending things back to Washington.

-It's Patrick Kane having hands faster than Ilya Bryzgalov.

-It's Alex Burrows remembering Luc Bourdon.

-It's Jordan Staal changing everything.

-It's "Darren Helm! Darren Helm!"

-It's "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!"

-It's Patrice Bergeron snuffing out any hopes the Penguins had.

-It's Maxime Talbot shushing Daniel Carcillo and an entire city.

-It's Derek Plante giving the Senators a rude introduction to the playoffs.

-It's Joffrey Lupul giving the Capitals a rude introduction to the playoffs.

-It's Tom Fitzgerald blowing a slapper by Tom Barrasso from Centre Avenue.

-It's Ron Francis blowing a slapper by Mike Richter from Centre Avenue.

-It's Steve Yzerman blowing a slapper by Jon Casey from Livonia.

-It's Steven Stamkos refusing to let something like a slapper to the face end his night.

-It's Martin St. Louis scoring on the biggest rebound of his life.

-It's Tonelli to Nystrom.

-It's "the best player in the world" hitting the actual best player in the world.

-It's Dan Carcillo being "welcomed" back by Flyers fans.

-It's Scott Niedermayer giving the cup to his brother, Rob.

-It's Matt Carkner keeping the Senators alive.

-It's Toews and Kane ending the Kings' reign

-It's Matt Calvert giving the Blue Jackets their first ever playoff win.

-It's Alex Ovechkin taking out Sergei Gonchar.

-It's the delight of a double deflection between Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw.

-It's Alex Burrows getting Tim Thomas to bite.

-It's Mario Lemieux "retiring" in stunning fashion.

-It's Vladimir Konstantinov's "skate" with the Cup in his wheel chair.

-It's being rivals but humans at the same time.

-It's Martin St. Louis celebrating Mother's Day.

-It's the fact that Shawn Chambers is probably still trying to figure out where Mario Lemieux is.

-It's Jamie Baker and the Sharks doing the unbelievable against the Red Wings.

-It's Andrew Brunette weaving through the Avalanche's defense.

-It's Hal Gill busting up Ryan Malone's already mangled schnoz.

-It's Nick Bonino and Devante Smith-Pelly coming back against the Stars.

-It's Stu Barnes putting one over Johan Hedberg's shoulder and off the cross bar.

-It's Oilers fans making us wish we were Canadian.

-It's Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin trading hat tricks.

-It's Igor Larionov displaying the most patient backhand ever.

-It's Sidney Crosby spinning Jason Spezza silly.

-It's Lanny McDonald making his only goal of the playoffs count.

-It's James Neal just taking one.

-It's watching a game with a few thousand friends.

-It's the Penguins piling on Darius Kasparaitis.

-It's the 24 white banners in Montreal.

-It's Brandon Dubinsky taking advantage of Marc-Andre Fleury's mistake.

-It's Nick Foligno taking advantage of Marc-Andre Fleury.

-It's Oilers owner Peter Pocklington trying to sneak his dad's name on the Stanley Cup.

-It's Ron Francis saving the day when Mario Lemieux and Joey Mullen were hurt.

-It's Martin Gelinas sending his former employer to the golf course.

-It's Barrett Jackman finding Corey Crawford's five hole from the left half wall.

-It's Pavel Bure undressing Mike Vernon.

-It's Brendan Smith biting off more then he can chew.

-It's Jaromir Jagr dancing through the Devils' defense.

-It's Jaromir Jagr dancing through the Bruins' defense.

-It's Jaromir Jagr dancing through the Blackhawks' defense.

-It's the Hurricanes stunning the Devils in the final 1:20 of a Game 7.

-It's Marc Savard shaking off the rust.

-It's "The Shift."

-It's Mike Fisher playing with a terminally-ill three-year-old boy.

-It's Maxim Afinogenov going for a swim.

-It's Ron Hextall jumping Chris Chelios.

-It's Gary Roberts tormenting the Senators.

-It's Evgeni Malkin having younger, fresher legs than his fellow countryman, Sergei Fedorov.

-It's Brian Campbell not having a prayer on a three-on-one against the Red Wings.

-It's that little "rattle" in Mike Lange's voice when he lets us know "H-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e shoots and scores!!!!"

-It's Brenden Morrow sending the Sharks home after four overtimes.

-It's Petr Sykora's lightning quick forehand/backhand move.

-It's Alex Ovechkin getting stoned on his breakaway in Game 7.

-It's Sidney Crosby not getting stoned on his breakaway in Game 7.

-It's Dale Weise knowing exactly where to set up shop.

-It's the civility of a handshake.

-It's the beauty of a "hockey face."

-It's the ugliness of a finger point.

-It's the brilliance of a CBC pregame montage.

-It's Adam Deadmarsh helping Tinseltown beat Hockeytown.

-It's getting a hand (as well as a stick, a foot and a shin) from Rob Scuderi.

-It's Kyle Turris' perfect shot.

-It's Mike Krushelnyski's blooper over Mike Vernon.

It's the 2010 Bruins and the 2014 Sharks joining an exclusive club with the 1975 Penguins and 1942 Red Wings.

-It's Pascal Dupuis going far side while falling on his butt.

-It's Joel Ward crashing in on Tim Thomas.

-It's that trainer from Toronto spraying a water bottle to celebrate Nikolai Borshevsky's overtime goal.

-It's Arturs Irbe's moldy goaltending equipment.

-It's the eternity of 17 seconds.

-It's Gary Roberts destroying Andreas Lilja and giving Adam Hall a chance at scoring.

-It's (Adam) Henrique being better than Henrik (Lundqvist).

-It's Jonathan Toews willing his way to a clutch shorthanded goal in Game 7.

-It's Alex Burrows and the Canucks finally beating the Blackhawks.

-It's Petr Sykora ending the game that would not end.

-It's Uwe Krupp bringing a championship to Colorado.

-It's Bob Baun scoring an overtime goal on a broken ankle.

-Its Jakub Voracek catching the Penguins standing around.

-It's Benn Ferriero giving himself the best birthday gift ever.

-It's Mario Lemieux making the Civic Arena probably the loudest it has ever been.

-It's Scott Walker being a villian in Boston.

-It's Alexander Steen benefiting from Jonathan Quick's error.

-It's Daniel Briere getting a lucky bounce off Zdeno Chara's skate.

-It's Marian Hossa almost keeping the hopes alive.

-It's Daniel Alfredsson finding a big hole in the Penguins' defense.

-It's Jeff Carter circling the zone.

-It's Dustin Byfuglien putting Chris Pronger in his place.

-It's Tim Thomas putting Henrik Sedin in his place.

-It's Colin Greening scoring despite having pieces of fiberglass in his face.

-It's Jim Lorentz killing a bat.

-It's Marian Hossa being in the right place at the right time.

-It's Petr Nedved and Keith Primeau breaking tired, weary hearts.

-It's Brad Richards and Marc Staal figuring out Braden Holtby.

-It's Erik Cole's beard.

-It's Stephen Walkom doing his job.

-It's Brent Seabrook saving Walkom a lot of grief.

-It's Brad Park cleaning up his own rebound.

-It's Robbie Brown really making Ron Hextall mad.

-It's Dan Boyle and Steve Smith finding the wrong nets.

-It's Chris Kunitz windmilling Kimmo Timonen.

-It's Justin Williams being clutch.

-It's Joe Thornton proving he can be clutch.

-It's Joe Pavelski always being clutch.

-It's Maxime Talbot making us stay up late.

-It's Marc-Andre Fleury simply refusing to finish his season.

-It's Petr Sykora calling his shot.

-It's closing Mellon Arena in a nightmare fashion.

-It's Theo Fleury slipping and sliding all over the ice.

-It's finally seeing a Stanley Cup celebration in Mellon Arena, just not the one most of us were hoping for.

-It's the Winnipeg White Out.

-It's #ImGregoryCampbell.

-It's Alexei Poniarovsky taking advantage of a bad rebound by Ilya Bryzgalov.

-It's Luc Robitaille's goal and Francois Leroux's goofy little kicking celebration in the corner.

-It's Daniel to Henrik after four overtimes.

-It's Carey Price preforming some self-dentistry during a game after taking a skate to the face.

-It's refusing to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl or Prince of Wales Trophy.

-It's doing away with at least one of those silly superstitions.

-It's Brad Marchand dangling on Roberto Luongo.

-It's Paul Kariya getting off the floor and on the board.

-It's Garry Valk poking one by Tom Barrasso.

-It's Patrick Kane scoring a goal only he saw.

-It's Russ Cournall beating Frank Pietrangelo from the high slot.

-It's Anze Kopitar getting loose on Martin Brodeur.

-It's Patrice Bergeron being Boston Strong not once, but twice.

-It's Alec Martinez sending the Kings to the Stanley Cup final and winning them the Stanley Cup.

-It's Evgeni Malkin making some toast out of Martin Biron.

-It's Maxime Talbot taking advantage of a Brad Stuart turnover.

-It's Maxime Talbot showing why he's a "superstar."

-It's Marc-Andre Fleury winning the game everyone said he couldn't win.

-It's lifting the Stanley Cup on their ice, a year after they lifted it on your ice.

-It's all of those things.

-And it's so much more.

Over the course of the next two months, much of what happened in the below video will be repeated in some fashion. In mid-June Gary Bettman is going to awkwardly hand the Stanley Cup to a gentleman with a "C" on his chest and someone will have one big long summer party.

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Crosby healthy entering playoffs for the first time since 2010 - 04-15-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

It's been quite a while since Sidney Crosby has been in his position.

No, not the playoffs. He's been in them, more or less, every season since 2006-07.

But he hasn't been healthy (or some semblance of "healthy" entering a postseason since 2010, the Penguins' last season at the Civic Arena.

In 2011, he miss the playoffs due to a concussion

In 2012, he had missed most of the regular season due to the same concussion and did not have the benefit of being fully conditioned.

In 2013, he miss the first game of the postseason due to a broken jaw.

And in 2014, he struggled with a right wrist injury.

After today's practice at Consol Energy Center, Crosby was asked about being (mostly) healthy as the playoffs begin for the first time in half a decade.

"I think everyone has bumps and bruises this time of year but I definitely haven't missed a month or a year heading [into the playoffs]. So that's definitely nice. It's not like it's you're having to kind of play catch up with the intensity being what it is this time of year. I would say it's nice to just kind of roll into the playoffs. And with the type of games we've been playing, I think they've been physical, they've been intense and being able to get into that kind of mentality has been a positive thing."

(Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

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