You’re Mad. Penguins Get it. But They’re Keeping Cool
There’s a storm that’s been brewing, a dark cloud hanging over the Pittsburgh Penguins that only got fiercer over the past week. They know it. They just aren’t giving in to it – no matter how badly fans or anyone else want to see tantrums or finger-pointing.
An awful week that included a loss at home to Montreal and then back-to-back losses against the Rangers in New York culminating in a clunker of a 6-0 defeat Saturday has raised the angst level. Or maybe it’s a level of resignation over the Penguins’ plight this season.
Thirteen games left. Clinging to the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Four regulars on defense injured, two of them on long-term IR. Another potential trap game Monday night at home against Ottawa. Then a trip West to play Colorado and Dallas on back-to-back nights.
And what did the Penguins do when they got a day off Sunday?
“Watched basketball. Hung out with (my) son,” Penguins winger Jake Guentzel said Monday after the team’s morning skate at PPG Paints Arena.
“Just a typical day off,” said team captain Sidney Crosby.
Maybe that infuriates the fan base who would like the players to be as ticked off or embarrassed or fed up as they are.
But that’s just not how the Penguins are wired. They, like a lot of pro athletes, feel a strong need to keep their cool so they can move forward.
They couldn’t completely block out the past week on their day away, of course.
“We always think about it – things you can do better. What can you bring more to the team?” said Kris Letang, one of the few healthy regulars on defense. “At the same time, you try to spend the day thinking about something else just to get away from it.”
At least, as much as that is possible.
“It definitely stings, but sometimes you just need a day away from the rink, get away from it,” Guentzel said. “Obviously, you’re still thinking about it at times. When something like that happens, it’s nice to get away and (hang out with) family and relax a little bit.”
Guentzel wanted everyone to know that just because the Penguins aren’t outwardly stomping around being irate, it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the emotional investment from their followers.
“They’re passionate fans. They care. We love that about them,” Guentzel said. “But we still believe in this group, and we’re still in a good spot.”