Roberts, Chelios to sit for Game 1 of Stanley Cup final
The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins will each play without a key veteran when the puck drops for Game 1 of the seven-game Stanley Cup final don Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).
Penguins forward Gary Roberts revealed on Friday that he will not be in the lineup for Game 1, while Detroit's stalwart defenceman Chris Chelios is expected to miss another game with a leg injury.
Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien didn't make an announcement about Roberts at his news conference on Friday, but told a reporter later that the media would be told his decision after the pre-game skate on Saturday.
Then Roberts eliminated any guesswork by making the announcement himself.
"I've been told I'm not playing tomorrow night," said Roberts, who has two goals and one assist in the playoffs. "But it's not the time for me to bitch and complain. I've enjoyed being around this group of guys. I've had a trying year, health wise, not the year I wanted to have.
"But I'm excited to be here and be part of this thing. Hopefully at some point I'll get that chance."
Roberts turned 42 on Friday, but it was undoubtedly a bittersweet day after Therrien informed him he wouldn't be suiting up for Saturday's game.
"Obviously, I'm not happy about it but I'm going to let Mike talk about why I'm not playing," Roberts said.
Robert, who has played in six of the Penguins 14 playoff games, has been forced to sit due to a groin injury as well as pneumonia but he feels that he'll be ready if he's needed.
"The rest has been great for me and I feel like I'm ready to go," said Roberts. "But you know what, it's not about me right now. It's about the team.
"One thing I will say, if I do get the chance, I won't let my teammates down."
For Chelios, sitting out for the Red Wings is more about not messing with success.
The blue-liner sat out of Detroit's series-clinching win against the Dallas Stars with a leg injury and even though Chelios believes he can play, head coach Mike Babcock chose not to reinsert him into the lineup for Game 1.
"I don't think I'll be playing the first game," said Chelios. "Whether it's superstition or not, they're not changing [anything]. We played a really good game to close out the last series.
"I'm good to go. I'm ready to go."
Detroit forward Johan Franzen, who has sat with concussion-like symptoms for the past two weeks, skated with his teammates on Friday but has been ruled out for Game 1.
With files from the Canadian Press