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Players Call For White Out Friday Night

Wednesday, 04.23.2008 / 2:19 PM / Features
By Joe Sager  - pittsburghpenguins.com
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Players Call For White Out Friday Night

Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins have called for a white out Friday night.

All fans in attendance at Mellon Arena when the Penguins welcome the Rangers at 7 p.m. will receive a white T-shirt. The fans are asked to wear the shirts to create a “white out” effect at Mellon Arena.

“There’s a lot of excitement built up around here. There’s a playoff fever. I know there is going to be a white out here for the first game Friday night. I think, as players, we’re all looking forward to that,” Crosby said. “We’ve seen some other buildings that have done some different things, but to have a white out here is something we’re all looking forward to.”

The Penguins continue to feed off the rowdy Mellon Arena crowds.

“Oh yeah, for sure. When you’re at home, you need to take advantage of it. For us, we really pride ourselves in playing well in front of our fans,” Crosby said. “They have been behind us all year. Certainly, in the playoffs, that’s something where you want to be really tough at home.”

SYKORA VS. THE ANTS

When Petr Sykora joined the Penguins as a free agent last summer, he needed a place to stay. So, he called up old friend and fellow countryman Jaromir Jagr, who still owns a house in the Pittsburgh area. Sykora has been living at the house this season – with a few unfriendly roommates.

“I am fighting the ants. I have a war going on against the ants in Jagr’s house right now,” Sykora said. “I lost the first battle, but I am in a war. I got the little ones in one part and the big ones in another part.”

Sykora has not called to complain, though.

“No, I don’t want to bother him during the playoffs,” he said.

Sykora, who played for the Rangers two seasons ago, maintains many friendships on the team, including Jagr and Martin Straka.

“I have a lot of friends on that team and I am not going to talk to any of them. I am very close to Marty Straka. I am closer to him than Jagr because we’re from the same hometown,” he said. “I am not going to talk to any of these guys. Hopefully, when it’s all done, we’ll shake hands and he’ll be the one who wishes me good luck in the next round. That’s really far away. All friendship goes aside. It’s all business now.”

SCHEDULE SET

While the Penguins have been off since sweeping Ottawa, 4-0, last Wednesday, the Rangers have endured a long wait as well. New York completed its series against New Jersey on Friday. Since then, the teams have been in a holding pattern to find out who they’d meet next.

“People were asking if we’d be rusty, but they are sort of in the same position. It’s a little different than if we had played Washington coming right after two days off,” Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney said. “Both teams will probably feel each other out a little bit in the first period and the crowd will be great so that will help us. We’re looking forward to getting on the ice and playing again. Practice isn’t getting old; guys are itching to play.”

Penguins coach Michel Therrien is finally happy to learn who his Penguins will play and when.

“Finally, we know. It’s nice to know we can prepare for the Rangers and I am sure they are going to be very prepared as well,” he said. “Finally, we know the date, too. It’s been a long week, but I think it’s been a week that has been productive for us.”

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