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Friday, June 12, 2009
Penguins pregame report: Crosby as superstitious as ever before Game 7


DETROIT -- You have to love Sidney Crosby and his completely transparent devotion to his myriad superstitions.

The Pens are staying at their third hotel of these Cup finals, having failed to win a game while staying at the previous two.

Crosby joked that he does get consulted on where the team stays.

"Yeah, they run it by me and a couple of guys," Crosby said after today's morning skate. "Not just me, but, you know, at this point, I don't think we have too many options, so I don't think this one needed to be run by anyone. We knew it was probably a good time to switch it up, so we decided to."

Even on Friday morning, Crosby paused coming into the Penguins' locker room and opted to chat with the media in the interview room as opposed to his dressing-room stall. Maybe he felt badly for the dozens of reporters crammed around his cubicle, but we strongly suspect it has everything to do with the fact that he hasn't spoken at the podium after a morning skate in this series and certainly not in Detroit, where the Pens are 0-3 in the Cup finals and 1-5 in the past two finals against the Red Wings.

Either way, it's all over tomorrow
One of the interesting dynamics of a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals is, no matter what happens Friday night, it is the end of the road for both teams and long-held routines will suddenly go by the boards. It is something that resonates for a lot of players as they prepared for their final game of the season.

"Obviously never been a part of something this far along," Penguins forward Matt Cooke said. "Before, there was always hockey on TV after. Yesterday was the last practice, today was the last morning skate no matter what. Obviously that's not where our focus is, but it's definitely in the back of your mind."

Teammate Craig Adams was in Carolina in 2006 when the Hurricanes closed out Edmonton in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup.

"It's a weird feeling, for sure," Adams said. "There wasn't much sleep in the afternoon. Just close your eyes and try and relax a little bit. Come game time, it didn't matter, your energy was there and all that. It's a little different day, a unique day, but it's a fun day."

The fact that everything changes after the game only adds to that feeling, he said.

"That's part of why it's unique. Win or lose, tomorrow's a day off."

Don't be so sure.

"How do they know I'm going to give them a day off?" Penguins coach Dan Bylsma joked. "It does seem weird. You know, you battle and you win to go further and further and further. You know, you go to Game 7 in Round 2 to get to the next round. You seem like you're playing for your team's life. Now, it will be over after tonight. It's going to be a good thing for one team. The other team's going to wish it was a nine-game series."

The coach said he is a believer in the routines that have led his team to this point in the season and how they can act as a kind of anchor for players whose emotions may threaten to get out of hand leading up to Game 7.

"This is the time of year where you say stuff and knock on wood a lot," Bylsma said. "So the one thing I do know for sure in having experienced this in '03, the days off are not that comfortable. There's thoughts and there's watching the clock and waiting for the next day.

"But when you get to a game day and you get to a morning skate and you get to a meeting and you get to going back to the hotel for lunch and then getting some rest, then getting up at the same time you get up always, that is normal," the coach added. "That feels comfortable because you've done it so many times before. And, yes, it does provide the structure, does provide the atmosphere that you can say this is just another game."