No goals in eight games. Very few shots in the scoring zones. And inconsistent play. Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen has not been the player the Penguins, head coach Mike Sullivan or even Kapanen have wanted.
The Penguins lineup was decimated and it didn’t get better on Monday when four players including Sidney Crosby and top-pair defenseman Brian Dumoulin entered COVID protocol. Marcus Pettersson was also among the protocol players.
On Monday in practice, Sullivan dropped Kapanen to the fourth line. It was a stern message delivered with some love, maybe, delivered by the Penguins coach. On Wednesday, Kapanen was back in his regular roles, in part because COVID dropped down the Penguins chimney like the grinch and stole Sidney Crosby.
Perhaps because of Crosby’s absence, or the message was already sent, Sullivan put Kapanen on the second line with center Evan Rodrigues and back on PP1.
However, at one point in the Wednesday practice, Sullivan let loose a full-throated verbal admonishment toward a group that included Kapanen.
“Tough times,” Kapanen characterized his season.