PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Much like the fan base that has grown tired of meaningless games while waiting for the playoffs to begin, Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen told Starkey and Mueller that he’s ready for games that actually mean something.

“We’ve been six-to-eight weeks now without a lot of change in where we’re going to be in the standings or how we prepare,” Niskanen said. “There’s been a lot of meaningless games kind of as far as that goes, so we’ve been kind of preparing our game and trying to find motivation that way with the playoffs in mind. It’s finally here, I think guys are excited to play some real intense hockey again. It’s an exciting time of year, I think guys are chomping at the bit. Just can’t wait to get going.”

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On top of discussing the team ramping up for the playoffs, Niskanen also talked about his future with the team as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent following this season, the best of his career.

“It’s kind of one of those things like you’re 27 and you’re hitting free agency, I like it here in Pittsburgh, I want to stay. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the summer,” Niskanen said. “At this point in the season, I try not to think about it. I want to focus on the playoffs and that will take care of itself after. You almost wonder like, oh boy, there’s going to be a tough decision to be made for myself and the organization here in the summer, but we’ll worry about that after. That’s a good problem to have. For now, we’ll focus on trying to win in the playoffs.”

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You can hear the whole interview below as Niskanen also went over when the team would want to face the Flyers in the playoffs, the biggest issue they may have with the Blue Jackets in the first round and who the most vocal leaders are on the team.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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