Penguins notebook: Punjabi call amuses Bonino, teammates
Even members of the Penguins found themselves laughing about and repeating the viral goal call made by Harnarayan Singh on “Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi” edition after Nick Bonino scored late in the third period of the 3-2 win over San Jose in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Singh repeated “Bonino” in rapid succession about 10 times before singing “Nick Bo-ni-no!” in the broadcast. He did it for the first time earlier in the playoffs, but his decision to do it for game-deciding goal in the Cup Final proved fateful.
The call crept into the Penguins' consciousness not only during periods of downtime but also meaningful team activity.
“We threw them on the game review for our guys to listen to,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “They got a kick out of it. It's entertaining, that's for sure. I hope we hear a few more of those.”
Bonino, whose four goals in the postseason also include the winner in Game 6 against Washington, seized the call's humor and ran with it after the Penguins finished their morning skate ahead of Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks.
“I told my family they should get it,” he said when a media member asked about Singh's delivery as a ringtone. “So they know when I'm calling.
“If you're watching the playoffs at all, you can't help but see (the Punjabi broadcast clips). They're all over social media. I think the people back home are getting a pretty good kick out of them.”
Bryan Rust did not need to sit out Game 2 after missing a portion of the third period in Game 1 because of a high hit he took from San Jose's Patrick Marleau.
That Marleau did not receive a suspension or any other form of discipline from the NHL failed to outrage Rust, who skipped Tuesday's lightly attended optional practice in Cranberry but felt well enough to participate in Wednesday's morning skate.
“The hit is what it is,” Rust said. “The league looked at it. They dealt with it. They did what they thought was right. I didn't really take much time to look at it or think about it.”
Following Game 1, Sullivan expressed his displeasure with Marleau's hit, which drew only a two-minute minor.
Before Game 2, the coach shared his relative lack of surprise in Rust's emergence as an offensive difference-maker.
Rust, whose playoff point total (six goals, three assists) nearly has caught up to the amount he tallied (four goals, seven assists) in 41 regular-season games, perhaps best embodies the Penguins' optimal style of play in the postseason. A credit to his aggressive forechecking and speed, Rust has been on the ice for 12 five-on-five goals for the Penguins and just one against in the playoffs.
“I think what we see with Rusty is just his skating ability and his speed, his tenacity on the puck, his compete level — and he's got a sneaky shot,” Sullivan said. “When you think of those attributes, I think it all adds up to someone that has the potential to score.
“I think he scored a few goals here throughout the course of the postseason, and I think his confidence is probably at an all-time high, and that helps. But certainly he's a guy that we have viewed all season long as someone that can help us generate offense, whether he's scoring himself or he's creating opportunity for his linemates through his foot speed and through his tenacity, forcing turnovers and things of that nature.”
Something to cherish
Not since 1924 had the first two goals of the Stanley Cup Final come from rookies.
Rust and Conor Sheary became linked with Montreal's Howie Morenz after each scored in the first period in Game 1.
Sheary, whose previous goal came in Game 5 of the first round against the New York Rangers, learned he had extended the Penguins' lead to 2-0 only because of the way everyone around him reacted.
“I couldn't see it because there was a screen in front,” Sheary said. “Once I saw (Hornqvist) started celebrating, I kind of started to celly with him.
“I kind of wish I saw it go in. But they all count the same at the end of the day.”
Another of Sheary's wishes: That he might get the puck back as a keepsake.
“I think they keep all of the goals,” he said, “so maybe I'll have to go into the box and steal that one. We'll see.”
Dominik Uher, a 23-year-old winger and fifth-round draft pick of the Penguins in 2011, has joined HC Sparta of the Czech League after spending each of the last four seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, according to Sparta's website.
Uher, who appeared in two games with the Penguins during the 2014-15 season, tallied five goals and eight assists in 43 games with the Baby Pens this past winter.
He had a career-high 30 points in 80 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2014-15.
Bill West is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.