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‘It Was Ridiculous’: Sullivan Fumes After 9 Penalties Against Penguins



Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Sullivan angry, loss to Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA, Ontario — Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was caught on camera delivering a few not-safe-for-work words to the officials during the Penguins’ 5-4 OT loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday at the Canadien Tire Centre.

While neither official earned one of the three stars, they figured prominently in the outcome, and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was not pleased.

In total, the teams combined for six power-play goals, two by the Penguins and four by Ottawa. Despite the power plays being cut short by goals, the game still featured 22:20 of special teams play, all on minors or double minors.

After the game, Sullivan stopped himself from ripping the officials in the media. However, cameras, including the scoreboard cam in the arena, caught him on multiple occasions during the game, expressing his anger.

Sullivan rocked back and forth against the concrete wall in the bowels of the arena, grimaced, and paused for 10 seconds before answering the final question of his short postgame chat.

“Let’s just say I questioned a fair amount of the calls,” Sullivan said.

The first period featured more special teams than even-strength play, and that was only the beginning of the game-long theme.

The Penguins took eight penalties, including a double minor to Jeff Carter for high-sticking, which brought the total to nine. Bryan Rust was called for hooking after what seemed like a clear icing was not called. Rust also had a few words for the officials, and they dished an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, too.

Compounding the Penguins’ penalty issue, Ottawa netted four goals on nine chances. It was a special teams battle.

“It’s pretty tough to assess a game like that when half of the game is special teams,” Sullivan said sternly. “There was no flow to it. There was no 5v5. It was ridiculous.”

The Penguins PK, which was ranked fourth in the league before the game, had trouble containing Ottawa’s man-advantage rush and precise puck movement.

The Penguins clearly lost the battle as Ottawa moved the puck with impunity and entered the zone with little resistance.

“I don’t think we got enough pressure on the puck. (We gave them) too much time today,” defenseman Marcus Pettersson said. “When our kill is good, we pressure the puck all the time. We don’t give them enough time to make plays and stuff like that. So I think they were moving it pretty quickly. But I think we can do a better job pressuring the puck.”

Goalie Casey DeSmith stopped 35 of 40 shots, including at least a half dozen of the sparkling variety. He wasn’t happy with the game-winner by Brady Tkachuk, but the storyline was the orange armbands that were in the air far more than an average NHL game.

The Penguins had five power plays and netted a pair of goals, though they managed just 19 shots overall. Ottawa had 14 shots on the PP and 40 overall. 

In a sign of the statistical anomalies, third-pairing defenseman Chad Ruhwedel played over 21 minutes, including almost 10 on the PK. Jeff Carter played over 16 minutes, including almost seven shorthanded.

In the first period, Bryan Rust played only 48 seconds at 5v5 and over three minutes on the penalty kill. It was that kind of night for the Penguins, as officials also took away a third-period power play on a soft cross-checking call against P.O Joseph.

Sullivan’s fury could be seen on the bench, and his postgame chat was one of the shortest in his Penguins’ tenure.

Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Sullivan:


Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.