U mad, bro? Penguins fans angry with Mike Sullivan, Kris Letang; Steelers draft unrest | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

U mad, bro? Penguins fans angry with Mike Sullivan, Kris Letang; Steelers draft unrest

Tim Benz
1070845_web1_AP_19104735318967
AP
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan gives instructions during a timeout in the second period in Game 3 against the New York Islanders in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 14, 2019.

In “U mad, bro?” this week, Penguins fans are still angry at Mike Sullivan and Kris Letang. People disagree with me about the NHL playoffs and the Steelers draft. And one health organization is mad at the entire city of Pittsburgh.


We start with Sheldon, who is dissatisfied with Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan.

The more Sullivan coaches, the more he insists everyone play a certain way. Ryan Reaves was only one of several players he never gave a chance. You have to coach the players you have and Sullivan was badly out-coached against New York.

Actually, Sheldon, I wish Sullivan would insist harder. It seems like he wants discipline and structure from his players, but they aren’t responding as they used to do when he first became coach.

With this group of Penguins, that’s occurred under every coach they’ve had. Sullivan, Dan Bylsma, Michel Therrien and Mike Johnston each implemented a system that enticed the Penguins’ stars players at first, often with great success. Heck, even Johnston’s short, unspectacular tenure began with 22 wins in his first 32 games.

At different stages, though, all coaches are simply tuned out by these Penguins players.

I fear that has happened with Sullivan.

I wouldn’t say Sullivan was out-coached by Trotz. Sullivan, Trotz and Sidney Crosby all said the same thing. The Islanders never hid what they were doing. They merely kept doing it well. And the Penguins players never adjusted.

Sullivan wasn’t out-schemed, per se. He just failed to reach his players with instruction in the manner that Trotz did.

Is that being “out-coached?” Or is that players not listening?

I agree. It’s a problem. A big one. But maybe a different problem than you identified.


Here is a tweet from a guyyyy namedddd “JOOOO.” He’s ticked off about the play of defenseman Kris Letang in the postseason sweep by the Islanders.

I agree with a lot of this.

I get Letang’s point that his offensive style comes with risk. But as Sullivan said after Game 4, “It’s not always about scoring goals.”

Letang seems to forget that. Frequently. And that trait badly burned the Penguins in the playoffs this year. When general manager Jim Rutherford questioned how satisfied his players looked at times in that series — and how under-motivated they appeared — Letang had to be under that umbrella of criticism.

Not from a matter of effort. Letang tries hard. But being “dedicated” also means being “dedicated to the scheme” the coach wants to play. And I wonder if Letang deviates from that too much for the liking of Penguins management.


Bruno disagreed with my criticism of the major penalty assessed against Vegas in their stunning Game 7 loss to San Jose on Tuesday night. He seems to think I’m blaming the penalty too much and not holding the Golden Knights accountable for blowing a 3-0 lead by allowing four power-play goals in the same sequence.

Grandpa, it’s cute that you still use Twitter at your age.

Here’s a deal. I’ll “get off your lawn” when you get off my timeline.

As I wrote and stated, Marc-Andre Fleury missed too many pucks. The penalty kill in front of him was a disaster. Vegas coach Gerard Gallant should have called a timeout after the second goal and challenged it for goalie interference. Cody Eakin’s crosscheck was cheap and should’ve been a common foul, just not a major.

How else do you want me to blame Las Vegas?

By the way, I’m 44 years old. “My generation” is not young. You are just really old.


Richard appears to be more on Mike Tomlin’s side than mine when it comes to the notion of the Steelers drafting Rock Ya-Sin in the first round.

NFL writer Peter King seems to think Tomlin wants to draft the cornerback from Temple. If the Steelers go with a corner, I’d prefer Greedy Williams of LSU or Byron Murphy of Washington. If those guys and the top inside linebackers are gone, it’s going to get dicey.

According to Eric Edholm at Yahoo.com, Ya-Sin lacks great footspeed, but he “is incredibly adept at sticking with receivers downfield and playing the ball in the air.

One NFL defensive backs coach we spoke to has watched Ya-Sin and feels that his technique is a bit crude, although his natural instincts, physical conditioning and competitiveness all are NFL-caliber. Even though he’s been in more man-heavy schemes in college, Ya-Sin might be best working with a defense that slants toward more zone coverage.”

Don’t get me wrong. I get what Tomlin likes in Ya-Sin. I just think he likes it too much at pick No. 20.


Finally, the American Lung Association is mad at Allegheny County. It says we have terrible air quality in Pittsburgh.

“F”-quality air! That bad?

Eh, I don’t know. It tastes fine to me.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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