Pittsburgh has been falling fast lately. After starting November with a 7-0-1 mark, the Penguins are 7-10-1 in their last 18 games following a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Mellon Arena on Tuesday.
The players have had enough of losing and addressed the issue together. The Penguins held a players-only meeting after the Boston game to get the team back on the right course.
“That will stay in here,” captain Sidney Crosby
said about the meeting. “That’s our team and it’s a closed-door thing. I don’t think it’s necessary (to share).”
"You have to show some leadership," head coach Michel Therrien said. "I’m interested to see what’s going to come up from this. That’s part of growing. This is a young group. A lot of those guys are young leaders. They’re learning through adversity.”
One of those leaders is defenseman Brooks Orpik
, who said that the players need to take responsibility for the team’s performance.
“The coaches don’t play,” he said. “Coaches can’t score goals or keep the puck out of the net. They can only give you so much.
“It really comes down to team attitude and preparation, or lack of preparation that we’re putting in as a team. I think the attitude is a little off of where it has to be. There are no easy games in the league anymore. You can’t really afford to take a night off and if you don’t have all 20 guys at their best, it’s going to cost you.”
I think the biggest thing is having everyone on board. Everyone has to be committed to going in the same direction. - Brooks Orpik
When asked if the recent struggles are due to a lack of chemistry with the offseason acquisitions, Therrien pointed out that the Penguins will have to overcome their current rough stretch as a team.
“A team concept is the most important thing for any hockey team,” he said. “It’s not the new guys, the old guys. We’re a team. We have to respond as a team.”
Orpik hopes the meeting will bring the team together and turn things around.
“I think the biggest thing is having everyone on board,” Orpik said. “Everyone has to be committed to going in the same direction. When things are going rough you just have to stay the course and make sure guys don’t get going off in their own direction.
“I think it’s easy to be a good teammate when you’re winning games. When you’re going through rough patches like this it really tests guy’s character and your true colors show.”