PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – NHL on NBC Analyst and former NHL star Jeremy Roenick joined The Cook and Poni Show on Friday to discuss the recent down turn of the Penguins following a 3-2 loss to the Los Angles Kings.
The loss was the third straight for the Penguins.
“It’s okay to go through this right now,” Roenick said. “The playoffs are not in jeopardy and they could go on a run anytime that can take them to the Stanley Cup Finals.”
Roenick did indicate that he doesn’t like the fact that center Evgeni Malkin is out of the lineup because the Pens are hard to stop with that one two punch of Sidney Crosby and Malkin.
He also told the guys that he doesn’t have any problem with some of the players coming out and being critical of the recent play. Roenick said he would rather hear that then them making excuses.
“They just have to bear down and get back to what makes them great,” Roenick said. “That is hard to do though with so many guys coming in and out of the lineup like they have had this season.”
Roenick is aware that the fans here are expecting more. They expect to have more than one Stanley Cup with this group of superstars.
“This is a crazy rabid fan base that want to win Stanley Cups,” Roenick said. “If they don’t get something done you may see some of those key pieces distributed. I don’t want to see that because this group is so fun to watch.”
Roenick says it can’t all be blamed on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, and he thinks that he has rebounded well after a tough playoff run last season.
The guys asked him if head coach Dan Bylsma might be the right guy to lead this group or has he lost them?
“The one thing the coach can’t do is to get them to work hard,” Roenick said. “That is on the players.”
Roenick admits that the Pens need to take a page out of the Boston Bruins book when it comes to how they play. He says the Bruins don’t have the best talent, but they play a perfect system and they tend to get more physical and get in your face and it gives them a better opportunity to win.
“The hard working team will beat a talented team every day that doesn’t want to work,” Roenick added. “The Pens have to be more in your face and dirty. If they do that they can get past Boston this year.”
Roenick said it would not hurt some of the stars like Crosby to sit and get some rest, adding that he will always put in the work no matter how many days he is off.
Pens right winger James Neal has been getting attacked as of late by many for being a “dirty player.” So does Roenick agree?
“He is not a dirty player,” Roenick said. “He is a gritty player that shows he wants to win. He is a guy I would want on my team.”
Listen to the full interview here: