Orpik, Gonchar back together for Penguins
The Penguins' two most tenured defensemen opened the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday night as they closed them last spring — playing together.
In a lineup alteration aimed at improving his club's overall defense, coach Dan Bylsma reunited Brooks Orpik and Sergei Gonchar.
Until a third of the way through the regular season, they had been a regular defense pairing dating to late 2008. In the final regular-season weeks, Orpik had played with Kris Letang, and Gonchar was teamed with Mark Eaton.
Letang opened Game 1 of a first-round series against Ottawa by playing with Eaton. The Penguins finished the regular season by allowing at least three goals in nine of 13 games.
Kunitz, Cooke in play
Left wings Chris Kunitz (shoulder) and Matt Cooke (concussion) each played in Game 1 despite uncertainty about their respective statuses after a morning practice at Mellon Arena. Kunitz, who had missed four straight games to close the season, opened on a line with right wing Bill Guerin that was centered by Sidney Crosby. That line was a regular unit for the Penguins last postseason. Cooke was injured during a fight last Saturday night with Atlanta winger Evander Kane. He underwent a battery of several tests designed to induce physical and mental stress over the past few days, including a few hours before Game 1. He opened on a line with center Jordan Staal and right wing Tyler Kennedy — the Penguins' famed "Nightmare Line," which started the game.
The Penguins did not dress forwards Mike Rupp and Eric Godard, and defenseman Jay McKee. Ottawa was without the following healthy players: wingers Shean Donovan and Ryan Shannon; center Joshua Hennessy; defensemen Jared Cowen, Derek Smith and Brian Lee; and goalie Mike Brodeur.
Record TV ratings
The Penguins paced all national markets in local television ratings for the regular season, setting a new team record at 8.17 average for games on FSN Pittsburgh. That represented a 17 percent increase to best a record from last season, 6.98. All ratings are according to Nielsen Media Research.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.