Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is in waters he has not charted in more than a decade, not since he was the Boston Bruins bench boss for two seasons, 2003-04 and after the lockout in 2005-06. The 2005-06 Bruins stumbled all season and missed the playoffs. Similarly, this iteration of the Pittsburgh Penguins have played well in fits and starts and now cling to a one-point lead for the final playoff position.
Sullivan has been terse, he’s been uplifting, he’s been hard on players and he’s quickly defended them even before us media pukes have the chance to ask.
It was an amusing chat we had with former Penguins coach Michel Therrien just a couple of weeks ago. Therrien will forever be notorious for calling his players “soft,” or actually with his accent, “soff.” He laughed heartily when reminded of it (watch it here). There was also the Therrien gem about wondering aloud if his defensemen were trying to be the worst in the league because they were succeeding.
Sullivan has never uttered a public critique of the Penguins even remotely as terse, though this group has given him ample opportunity. But Sullivan appears to be growing desperate to jumpstart the sputtering Penguins.