BOSTON -- Just like Bruins coach Claude Julien, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma has to keep his team focused on the task at hand tonight at TD Garden regardless of the controversy surrounding Matt Cooke's presence in the lineup.
"We're going out there to play our game," said the Penguins bench boss a couple of hours before game time. "Are we dealing with the circumstances? We're aware of them, and Matt's aware of the circumstances. But again, our plan, and I know their plan is also, to go out and win this hockey game."
Bylsma said his lineup choices would be made at game time, so there's a chance he could dress forward Eric Godard to maximize his team's toughness quotient. As for Cooke, Bylsma doesn't expect the winger to approach the game any differently than past contests.
"This is not the first time a guy's had to think about a game before," Bylsma said. "I think most of the guys that have played the game have been in situations where they had a game circled on the calendar. It's one you anticipate with some uneasy feelings and you'd like to play it and get it over with. And I think that's where Matt's at. We're going out, the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Matt Cooke to win this hockey game. And that's the way we're going to play tonight."