At the age of 37, this is far from Steve Sullivan’s first time in the playoffs, but something is different now. The Pittsburgh Penguins have big expectations attached to them going into the postseason, which is something he’s less accustomed to.
In Sullivan’s experience, the first practice of the postseason was brought out a lot of feelings in players because “you were just so excited to get in and see what happens from there.” In Pittsburgh, the expectations are so high that the transition to the playoffs isn’t as noteworthy emotionally.
“Today is just another day at the job,” Sullivan said.
He came to Pittsburgh because he thought they might be the team that he would finally win the Stanley Cup with, and that’s certainly possible. The team is loaded with star talent, including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury.
“Everyone says it the first day of training camp, `Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup’,” Sullivan said. “But there’s only a few teams that can honestly believe that and we’re one of those teams.”
The problem is that their first round opponent, the Philadelphia Flyers, are another one of those teams that went into this season with a genuine belief that they would be a serious Cup contender. The Flyers have been through a lot since then, but they still look like a team that can give the Penguins a run for their money.
Sullivan has only made it past the first round twice in his career. He has his work cut out for him if he wants to get to the Conference Semi-Finals for the third time.