PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Just hours after returning home from a 10-1 drubbing in Chicago, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan cancelled the team’s scheduled skate Friday, electing to hold a video session instead.
After Thursday’s loss, captain Sidney Crosby labeled the performance “embarrassing,” a descriptive Sullivan resonated on Friday.
“Our message to our group this morning was that if we’re going to play the game to our identity, which we’ve defined clearly and talk about daily with this group, part of that identity is becoming a team that doesn’t beat itself,” he said. “I thought last night we broke that rule in so many different ways.”
The blunder in Chicago came after a less-than-stellar opening night overtime loss to St. Louis, in which goaltender Matt Murray was beaten five times.
Making his Penguins debut Thursday, backup goalie Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing four Blackhawks goals in under 10 minutes. Murray came on to allow six more.
Sullivan, however, seemed more concerned with the play of his defenseman than with that of his goaltenders.
“At the end of the day, hockey is rooted in emotion and physicality,” Sullivan noted. “Part of being hard to play against and being good defensively is your ability to engage physically.”
The Penguins, which have now surrendered 15 goals in their first two games, turn their focus to last year’s Stanley Cup Final opponent in Nashville, who will come to PPG Paints Arena Saturday night.
“We believe in them and we know they’ll respond in the right way,” Sullivan added. “We’re not going to overreact to this. We’re going to heed the lessons. We spoke about it, we showed them the hard evidence through the film and now we’re going to move by it and look forward to the next one.”