Yesterday was an off-day and a prep day, and I hope we're all prepared because this is Game 1 Eve and both teams were on the ice.
But, before practice we learned that the Pittsburgh Penguins assigned Chuck Kobasew, Harry Zolnierczyk and Simon Despres to the AHL. Much needed reinforcements for the Baby Pens, who've lost tons of players to the NHL this season as both teams had to endure injuries.
#Penguins lines: Kunitz-Crosby-Bennett Jokinen-Malkin-Neal Glass-Sutter-Stempniak Adams-Vitale-Gibbons (Pyatt, Megna)— Shelly Anderson (@pgshelly) April 15, 2014
Malkin also practiced on the #1 power play, a very positive development and as clear of a sign as we're likely to get before tomorrow that he should be playing in Game 1.
The #1 power play unit also included Kris Letang for this first time since his return. Letang and Malkin manned the points and Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Chris Kunitz played up front- for the traditional "all-star" loaded unit that the team likes to run.
As far as the enemy goes, here's how the Columbus Blue Jackets looked at their morning practice today.
#CBJ lines in practice today: Calvert-Dubinsky-Atkinson, Jenner-Johansen-Skille, Tropp-Letestu-Boll, MacKenzie-Anisimov-Comeau.— Rob Mixer (@RobMixer) April 15, 2014
And for their defense:
One change to the defense pairs: Murray-Wisniewski, Tyutin-Johnson and Nikitin currently slotting in to play with Savard. #CBJ— Rob Mixer (@RobMixer) April 15, 2014
20 year old impressive rookie Ryan Murray is returning from injury himself and by slotting next to James Wisniewski, he's likely to see a lot of the Crosby line. Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson will also get the heavy assignment of the stacked Malkin line.
It's almost time for playoffs and as this day draws to a close, with it brings the dawn of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs tomorrow. Almost time to watch 'em go.