The Pittsburgh Penguins are moving on to the finals and have earned a chance to hoist their first championship in franchise history. The club is coming off of a grueling seven game series with the Buffalo Sabres. Depsite being the underdog before and throughout the matchup, the Penguins perserved, withstood and triumphed over the almighty Slugs.
NEFHL Insider and San Jose Sharks analyst, Ken McBobzie, had a chace to sitdown with Penguins GM for a brief interview following Monday's practice.
On the series vs. Buffalo
"First off, hats off the Buffalo Sabres on their fantastic season. We knew going into the series that the odds were stacked against us, regardless of what statistics might have suggested. Many had expected to see the Sabres move on. Lets face it, Buffalo had already desecrated both the Rangers and Panthers, some thought we were next. Despite coming out of the gate poorly, the boys showed determination and discipline and ultimately took home the series. I am proud of what we have accomplished so far, but we haven't reached our ultimate goal yet."
On meeting the Coyotes in the finals
"They have a solid hockey club and have disposed of some quality teams. There is no doubting the talent they possess. They like to ride their ponies and play them a ton of minutes. They have played five more games than we have. At some point, you have to figure fatigue could play a factor. Regardless, our players are going to need to stay sharp and play smart in our own end, especially when guys like Tarasenko, Kane and Staal are on the nice. On the flip side, we need to make sure that we are getting lots of pucks towards Rinne. Hopefully the [sim] Gods are on our side."
On home ice advantage
"We did a poor job at home last series and will need to be better if we hope to reach our goal. We won the game that mattered most and need to build off that game."
On Matt Murray and his availability for Game #1
"Matt has played lights out hockey for us this playoff. He has elevated his game at the right time and we anticipate and hope for more of that this coming series. Fatigue is an interesting thing. Murr admitted that he is a little tired after the last game. We haven't decided at this point on who will get the nod tomorrow. We are fortunate that we have two goalies that we believe in. CMac can get the job done if required."
On Sidney Crosby's production
"The game is faster and much more intense in the playoffs. Players do not miss a check and I feel like opposing teams have done a great job of getting licks on Sid when they can. He has had plenty of opportunities and as we know this game comes down to inches. I am certain the bounces will go his way this series and look forward to him lifting Lord Stanley over his head."