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Sad Penguins Room: ‘Bond Hard to Put Into Words,’ Crosby, Sullivan Talk Guentzel



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby

The NHL trade rumors became a reality not long before the opening puck drop. The game was a forgone conclusion for most of the 60 minutes. The Washington Capitals played well, the Pittsburgh Penguins did not, and the result was a 6-0 beatdown of not only the Penguins on Thursday night but an unceremonious extinguishment of any hopes the Penguins could reverse their fortunes.

The players, including Sidney Crosby, spoke in hushed tones. The passion they needed to beat the Capitals didn’t exist on the ice, and the looming inevitability.

Crosby has been hit hard by the recent losing spell and the team’s failure to get back into the playoff race, thus forcing president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas to keep Guentzel for a playoff run.

As if 11 p.m. ET, the deal for Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes is not yet done, but players and the coach spoke in the past tense, strongly indicating it was only a matter of time. Get the updated Guentzel trade situation here.

Sidney Crosby

Instead, the mounting losses necessitated the big loss. And Crosby was wearing it all. If his face didn’t betray the disappointment, his voice did.

“He’s a great player, a great teammate, a friend. Did everything he possibly could during his time here,” Crosby said. I was privileged to play with him over the course of that time. Some great memories.”

Crosby no longer defiantly said the team would fight back.

Now, the response was a softly spoken, “I hope so.”


Coach Mike Sullivan

The Penguins coach could not deny the swirling trade talks finally coming close to their conclusion played a role in the Penguins’ dispassionate, disinterested performance.

It was yet another ugly loss in a season full of spartan drubbings, no-show losses, and bad performances. In the end, the last bit of hope skipped away from the Penguins, again by their own hand.

“Obviously, we weren’t at our best. You know, it’s not … (long pause) … Nothing’s official, as far as my understanding. But we didn’t do a good enough job handling a lot of that noise that’s going on around the team,” said Sullivan. “Jake means an awful lot to these guys. And when you when you win championships together, there’s a certain bond there that’s hard to put into words. These guys are human, and as much as we preach to stay on task here and focus, I have to believe that some of that had an impact on what went on the ice tonight.”

The Guentzel trade will not only signify the likely end of the competitive portion of the season but perhaps be the signal flare for a full shift in organization direction. Sullivan wore the disappointment, as well.

The Penguins had a chance. They know they had one, and now they’re dealing with the fallout of not being able to seize it and what it means about them.

Marcus Pettersson

The Penguins’ steady defensive defenseman struck a somber and admirable tone when asked about Jake Guentzel. It was virtuous praise from the typically well-spoken Pettersson.

“We didn’t play like a team today. We got it handed to us two times in a short period of time (referring to the 6-1 loss to Edmonton), so it’s a tough feeling in here.”

However, when asked about Guentzel, he picked his chin up and gave Guentzel a proper send-off.