PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford gave his thoughts on the team’s season so far and what is to come down the stretch towards the playoffs.READ MORE: 'When I Finally Got To Be Elvira, That's When My Life Calmed Down': Mistress Of The Dark Peels Back The Curtain
Rutherford spoke with the Fan Morning Show’s Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack Thursday morning.
The big topic of conversation over the past few weeks has been what will happen with Derick Brassard’s future with Pittsburgh.
With the trade deadline approaching on February 25th, Brassard’s name has been swirling around in trade rumors to this point.
Some questions were posed when the Penguins called center Teddy Blueger up from Wilkes-Barre earlier this week. Speculation continued when both Brassard and Olli Maatta missed an optional skate Wednesday afternoon ahead of the Penguins 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brassard did not play in the game.
After the win, head coach Mike Sullivan said that Brassard missed practice and the game with a “nagging” upper-body injury. According to Sullivan, he is officially “day-to-day.”
Rutherford talked about Brassard’s status on the show Thursday morning, but was not giving the center a firm endorsement.READ MORE: Remember, Reflect At Tree Of Life: Commemorating The 11 Lives Lost 3 Years Ago In Synagogue Shooting
“He’s our third-line center,” Rutherford said. “He didn’t play last night because he has a minor injury and I’m not going to speculate beyond that.”
When asked if trade talks are heating up around the league, Rutherford said it is nothing out of the ordinary.
“I would say it’s pretty standard for this time of the year. Looking at last year’s trade deadline, teams started jumping in a little bit earlier and getting deals done prior to deadline day and I would suspect that that’s going to happen this year.”
Rutherford was asked if trading defenseman Jamie Oleksiak back to the Dallas Stars will force the Penguins to add more physical play at the deadline, Rutherford explained that they do not add players to fit against specific teams like the Washington Capitals and Tom Wilson.
“We’re not going to build out team based on one team we may or may not play,” Rutherford said. “I will remind you that we beat Washington two out of three years and I believe Tom Wilson was playing for them.”
Rutherford said he was not happy with the up and down play throughout the season, but he was very pleased with the victory over Tampa Bay.
“We’ve probably given away five to seven games where we just got outworked.”MORE NEWS: Man Hospitalized After Being Run Over By Wood Chipper
The Penguins sit in a very volatile position, currently in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 60 points. The Islanders are in first place with 63 points, and the Capitals are in third with the 60 points as well. A lot could change over the next few weeks, and every game will be crucial in the fight for playoff positioning.