It’s locker clean out day for the Pengiuns and you know what that means: extremely boiler plate quotes, injury news (which Peeps will have for you later), and Jim Rutherford holding a press conference.
It…did not go well.
As a primer to this, Adam Gretz at Pensburgh/NHL on NBC had a great piece yesterday about where things all went wrong for the Penguins.
It’s very much worth the read. At the end, he mentions that this offseason will be telling if management learned anything from their mistakes since the Cup Final in 2017. And if Jim Rutherford is to be believed, it would appear that they learned jack dick.
There are a lot of things wrong with this but the cold reality is this: the Penguins are a mess on the blueline and the reason is clear.
It’s because of Jim Rutherford.
This is the same guy that willfully went out and got the likes of Jamie Oleksiak, Jack Johnson, and Erik Gudbranson. They offer “push back” and very few other things (admittedly, Oleksiak was the definition of “just fine.”)
Gudbranson, it should be said, was also fine for the Penguins too, but what stands out is the “we have one on each pairing” with respect to puck movers. The issue with that, of course, is that it means you are stuck with non-puck movers too. How long can Marcus Pettersson be expected to cover for him and carry him in terms of moving the puck?
That became clear against the Islanders, whose forecheck targeted the puck movers and made the non-puck movers move the puck, which they were simply unable to do.
The results, as you’d expect, were bad. And the scariest part is that Jim Rutherford has never been known to bullshit to reporters. If he said it, he probably believes it.
He didn’t stop there, eventually alluding to the Cup winners on this team being “too content” and no longer being a “tight-knit team,” despite he himself trading away players that were either well-liked, could skate, or both, on whims.
Translation: he’s going to do something reckless. Because, reading between the lines with some of Sullivan’s quotes, the team didn’t “buy in” to the coaching staff’s preachings.
Gonna be a tough look to try to sell trading Phil Kessel for Justin Abdelkader and Jonathan Ericson because they “buy in” and are “tough to play against.”
The other highlight came from Kris Letang today as he sounded right the fuck off on all of his detractors.
The video itself of the whole thing deserves whatever award they can give for this sort of stuff. Maybe a Nobel Peace Prize. I don’t know, you be the judge.
This is the perfect quote. With Letang, you take the bad with the good and more often than not, the good outweighs the bad. When you have such a dynamic player like that, you want him to take risks and want him to play creatively. Otherwise, what’s the point. I went into this at length with some video today on Twitter to showcase why Kris Letang needs not change his style.
At the end of the day, we are all Mario here and at the end of the day, this offseason is going to be a goddamn ride.