Work in Sports
Penguins wonder: Where's the (brotherly) love?
Posted: Monday April 24, 2000 08:42 PM
CANONSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins once went 40 games without a win in Philadelphia and currently have a 16-game winless streak in the city where they will start the second round of the NHL playoffs.
No matter, coach Herb Brooks says, noting recent trades that toughened up the Penguins roster with players such as defensemen Bob Boughner and Janne Laukkenen.
The current winless streak in Philadelphia dates to 1994. The second-round schedule had not been announced early Monday evening by the NHL.
"This is a different hockey club, and we have a different mentality. I think Philly has had a very good year, and they're playing very well. ... We respect them, but we don't fear them," Brooks said Monday at the Penguins' training rink.
Late in the season, the Penguins acquired Boughner from Nashville, Rene Corbet from Calgary and Laukkanen and goalie Ron Tugnutt from Ottawa.
The moves thrilled Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr.
He has drawn the Flyers' ire more times than not the past decade and even was knocked out of action in his last game in Philadelphia, but Boughner and forward Matthew Barnaby backed their leader with battles against the Flyers.
"Of course, we haven't played very well down there," Jagr said. "I think we haven't won there for six years or something like that, but it's been a long time. But everything, someday, has to end."
Jagr leads the NHL with 10 playoff points on three goals and seven assists. The return of a healthy Jan Hrdina also would benefit the Penguins.
Hrdina, who practiced with the team on Monday, had four goals and three assists in three games against the Capitals in the first round. He missed the final two games with Washington with a strained back muscle.
"Jan has played great in the playoffs, so we hope he's healthy for the Philly series," forward Robert Lang said. "He can do so much for a team, on the face-offs, scoring and playing defense, so he's tough to lose. But I think he'll be ready for the Flyers, and that means we'll be more ready to play against them in a long series."
The Penguins improved with the return of Corbet for Game 5 against the Capitals after he missed a month with a separated right shoulder.
Rookie goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin has not yet returned to practice. He missed the past two weeks with a high ankle sprain.