DETROIT – The Red Wings veterans elected to skip Detroit’s game-day skate ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, but Sidney Crosby and the entire Pittsburgh Penguins squad was on the ice on Friday morning.
The two teams faced off for the Stanley Cup on Friday night.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he wanted to stick to the routine his players are used to.
“Just to reiterate about the normalcy, we normally skate on game days, so to give an optional would have been something out of the ordinary for us,” he said. “So we did what we normally do.”
In the morning of game-days during the regular season and the playoffs, each team is given access to the ice for an hour. It is the teams’ choice whether to have a full skate or make it optional for the players.
Most of Detroit’s top players chose to rest, including Nik Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Dan Cleary, who is believed to be playing through an injury, and Kris Draper, who recently returned from a suspected groin injury.
But starting goaltender Chris Osgood, veterans Tomas Holmstrom and Kirk Maltby and centre Darren Helm were among those who skated.
Mathieu Garon, Pittsburgh’s back-up goaltender, said he’d rather be at the rink.
“Especially on the road,” he said. “‘What else are we going to do? Sit in the hotel?”
“That’s just the way it’s been – (38-year-old) Billy Guerin might not like that a whole lot, but most of the guys are out there,” he said with a laugh. “We always liked to skate on game-days unless we’re playing back-to-back games or something like that, so we might as well keep it the same.”
Pittsburgh winger Petr Sykora had his right foot in a cast outside the dressing room, an injury he sustained while blocking a shot late in the Penguins’ 2-1 win at home in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Sykora had just returned to the lineup after sitting out 14 games.
Miroslav Satan is expected to be back in the lineup in Sykora’s place, although he insisted that would be a game-time decision by Bylsma.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he would make no lineup changes.
And Babcock doesn’t expect to make any major pre-game speeches to his players.
“If anything, I’ll probably be calmer and more boring,” he said. “I believe that we’re a prepared group, that we don’t need to get them more excited.
“That’s not the issue here. It’s controlling your emotions so you’re at the right level of activation so you can execute. That will be what we talk about.”