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Penguins Wrap: A Week Full of Defeat & Disappointment

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BOSTON — Naturally, there’s no way of knowing how the Pittsburgh Penguins’ outdoors game against Boston Monday at Fenway Park will play out.

They had a few pretty interesting — and rather troubling — ones in more conventional venues during the final days of 2022, however.

Here’s a look back at the week that the Penguins wish wasn’t:

Sunday

The NHL is in the midst of its annual holiday break, but Ron Hextall’s travel itinerary includes a business trip to Halifax for the world junior championship (although weather issues ultimately prevented him from going). Oh, and Teddy Blueger will need a contract this summer.

Monday

The first three months of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season have been pretty eventful. Here’s a look at the top five stories to come out of their locker room so far in 2022-23.

The Penguins’ overhauled defense corps hasn’t had quite the season that many people anticipated, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday

The Pittsburgh Penguins come out of the NHL’s holiday break with the potential to make a run this spring, but their chances of doing so will be enhanced if they can address a couple of significant issues.

Mike Sullivan knows the Penguins need more out of their third line, and acknowledges that he’s considering some changes to try to make it happen.

The Penguins made it to UBS Arena on Long Island for their first game out of the holiday break, but never really showed up in a 5-1 defeat.

Mike Sullivan doesn’t often deal in superlatives, but he did after the Islanders game calling it maybe “our worst game” of the year.

Wednesday

Fresh off that humbling game on Long Island and a couple of injuries, the Penguins summon Ty Smith and Drake Caggiula from their farm team in Wilkes-Barre.

Remember how bad that defeat by the Islanders was? Well, the Penguins’ 5-4 come-from-ahead overtime loss to Detroit was even worse, in a lot of ways.

Shortly after the collapse against the Red Wings, Evgeni Malkin says “the fans hate us right now.” That might be an overstatement, but they certainly had reason to be unhappy.

Jason Zucker readily admits that the Detroit game “hurts a lot more”¬†than the embarrassing loss they suffered 24 hours earlier.

Thursday

A rare bright spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ week, as Sidney Crosby is named on 99 Canadians to receive an appointment for the Order of Canada in recognition of his work, on an off the ice.

The bad news doesn’t stop, as Mike Sullivan announces that Kris Letang is being evaluated for an unspecified lower-body injury.

Will Letang’s injury give Ty Smith an opportunity to show what he can contribute at the NHL?

Friday

The Penguins’ performance in their game against New Jersey tonight has the potential to tell us a lot about this team, and what kind of future it has.

The power play that helped to carry the Penguins for so many weeks recently completely betrays them, going 0-for-9 and giving up a goal in a 4-2 loss to the Devils.

The Penguins weren’t entirely upset with how they played, despite having their losing streak swell to 0-2-2.

At least one prominent player and a couple of coaches had subpar performances in the New Jersey game.

Saturday

The Penguins’ ongoing slump has exposed flaws in them. The onus is on GM Ron Hextall to try to rectify them.

Readers get their say on this team, as a fan poll reveals what they think about the state of the Penguins.

Hate that the NHL’s Winter Classic is still a thing? Blame Sidney Crosby.