Ryan Shazier was a showstopper yet again.
The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker produced the moment of the NFL draft Thursday night when he walked onto the AT&T Stadium stage in Dallas to announce his team’s first-round pick — safety Terrell Edmunds — at No. 28 overall.
Teammates have privately lauded Shazier for his ability to walk on his own, though Shazier has been private about his process.
This offseason, Shazier told teammate Roosevelt Nix on a podcast that he plans to resume playing at a high level. Shazier is under contract for $8.718 million but will not play this season.
Shazier has spent most days at the Steelers’ facility working out or helping in the scouting department. The Steelers see improvement all the time.
“He’s taken some very inspirational steps,” Colbert said. “That’s a huge lift not only for him but for us. To see where he’s come from to where he is and knowing where he might be able to go, it’s just beyond inspirational.”
The matchup initially is about rust vs. rest — the Lightning got a full week off after eliminating the New Jersey Devils in five games, allowing them time off while the Bruins needed a full seven games to advance past the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I think the guys are excited,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You always say you want time off, and we’ve had six days. The guys want to get back into it. There’s a lot of ‘Let’s get this going.'”
Boston won the first three meetings in the regular season by a combined score of 10-4, so the Bruins can have confidence going into the matchup, regardless of seeding and home-ice advantage.
The Bruins are a well-rounded playoff team, ranking in the NHL’s top six in scoring, goals allowed, power play and penalty kill.
The Lightning are a tiny bit better in scoring, leading the league with 3.5 goals per game, and barely better on the power play, converting 23.9 percent of their opportunities.
Tampa Bay’s special teams were a strength in the series against New Jersey — their penalty kill, once a liability, killed off 16 of 19 Devils power plays, and the Lightning went 5 of 9 on power plays in the first three games before an 0-of-10 drought in the final two, both Tampa Bay wins.