Penguins baffled by ending, unsure of futures
The Penguins didn't level any shots at coach Dan Bylsma.
They didn't offer overwhelming support, either.
In an eerie scene Thursday in the Penguins locker room, some players met with the media while others opted against it before getting on with their summers. The respective fates of Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero were key topics.
Captain Sidney Crosby tepidly denied a Tribune-Review report that a rift has developed between the coaching staff and the Penguins' star players, including center Evgeni Malkin.
“You're going to hear a lot of that stuff, a lot of negativity, a lot of different rumors,” Crosby said. “That's normal when you lose. There are always people looking for reasons. Bottom line is, we didn't win.”
Many of the team's high-profile players, including Malkin, right wing James Neal and defenseman Paul Martin, opted against speaking with the media. Others did speak about the possibility of Bylsma and Shero losing their jobs.
“I don't know,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “A coach is a coach. It doesn't really matter. You have to do the job out there, and that was up to us to win those hockey games. Dan is not going to step on the ice and play those games. It was up to us to win games.”
Multiple players said privately that they expected Bylsma to be fired.
Left wing Tanner Glass said that change is inevitable.
“Any time you fall short, there's going to be change,” he said. “It will be from players, what they work on over the summer, to how you prepare for next season, the way the team plays, the way it is coached, the way it is managed. Any time you fall short, you have to make changes. If you do the status quo and expect different results, you're not very bright.”
While many Penguins brushed off talk of a rift between players and the coaching staff, one of the team's most respected veterans opted against offering an opinion. Right wing Pascal Dupuis, rehabbing from a knee injury that ended his season, was non-committal when asked if there were locker room issues.
“It was hard for me to get the pulse of the team, the group,” Dupuis said. “I can't really say anything about that.”
The Penguins, almost to a man, confessed exasperation at their continued playoff failures. They were unable to muster any explanation. Instead, only miffed expressions were evident.
“I don't know that it's just been one thing over the years,” right wing Craig Adams said. “It seems like it's something different every year. We couldn't play defense or kill a penalty against Philly (in 2012), and we were so undisciplined against them. Last year (against Boston), we couldn't score. This year, I feel like the way we started Games 5 and 7 really killed us.”
Adams made it quite clear that he does not hold Bylsma responsible.
“Not at all,” he said. “I think they have (Bylsma and Shero have) done a great job. This organization, from the top on down, has done everything to give us the best chance to win. The responsibility is squarely on the players for not winning.”
Crosby, the organization's most powerful player, insisted he will not be involved in determining a new coach, should Bylsma's expected dismissal come.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- AHL goaltender Murray strumming favor with Penguins
- Starkey: Pens made right call on Babcock
- Analysis: Where do the Penguins, Wilkes-Barre club go from here?
- Penguins GM Rutherford: Medical updates upcoming
- Penguins’ Adams not returning to team
- AHL wing prospect Sheary an intriguing option for Penguins
- Penguins GM Rutherford happy in Pittsburgh
- Johnstown rink wins $150K for upgrades, will host Penguins preseason game