Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, a day after getting a strong endorsement from his boss, said things are good six months into his time with president of hockey operations/general manager Kyle Dubas.
“My relationship with Kyle has developed over our time together,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s really good. I think we share a very similar vision on where this team is at and potentially where it needs to go moving forward.
“He’s very communicative. He’s very transparent. As am I. And I think the daily conversations that we have, I certainly appreciate.”
The Penguins are 11-12-3 roughly a third of the way through the season, going into back-to-back games tonight at home against the Arizona Coyotes and Wednesday against the Canadiens in Montreal. They missed the playoffs last season.
Dubas spoke about Sullivan Monday during a wide-ranging press conference.
“I had my impressions coming in and my respect for him — being with him every day, and not only seeing his attention to detail on the systems, but his attention to detail with players and coaching them individually and personally, I think we’re very fortunate to have Mike,” Dubas said of Sullivan. “And so, do I think that he’s the right person for this job now and far to the future? I absolutely do. So I need to continue to support the coaching staff as best I can and help us get this going in the right direction.”
Sullivan’s reaction to that endorsement was hardly surprising.
“I certainly appreciate Kyle’s support,” Sullivan said.
Penguins forward Lars Eller, who was ill Monday, took part in the team’s optional morning skate Tuesday. Sullivan said Monday he anticipated that Eller would be available Tuesday.
Also on the ice Tuesday morning was injured winger Rickard Rakell, who has been skating separately from the club and is on IR. Sullivan said Rakell still needed full practice time with the team.
The players who participated in the morning skate were forwards Mark Johnstone, Vinnie Hinostroza, Jesse Puljujarvi, Eller, Jonathan Gruden, Radim Zohorna, Rickard Rakell and Evgeni Malkin; defensemen Chad Ruhwedel, Ryan Shea, John Ludvig and P.O Joseph; and goaltenders Tristan Jarry and Alex Nedeljkovic.
Jarry will start in net against Arizona, Sullivan said.
Injured forward Noel Acciari skated separately before the team.