The Penguins lost their composure in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, particularly with the officiating crew.
Four 10-minute misconduct penalties were assessed to the team and defenseman Kris Letang was given a game misconduct, which put the Pens down one blueliner for the entire second half of the contest.
Letang addressed the incident with reporters Monday afternoon following an optional practice at Southpointe.
“I shouldn’t have put the team in that situation, especially down a forward already,” Letang said. “It’s an emotional game. You’re down 4-0 and frustrated. I should have kept my emotions in check. It came out, but I have to learn from that.
“At the end of the day I should just worry about what I can control and not worry about anything else.”
Letang, an admitted emotional player on the ice, was frustrated with Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek. There were several incidents in the Detroit crease throughout the game. One resulted in a Pittsburgh goal being waved off. Another caused Mrazek to fall to the ice.
The Pens weren’t pleased about the situation. And Letang vocalized it with the officials.
“I’m an emotional guy on the ice,” Letang said. “On that particularly I was just frustrated with the play of the goalie.”
But Letang wasn’t going to give details of what was said that resulted in his ejection.
“It stays on the ice,” Letang said. “It’s in the past so I’ll keep it in the past.”
The Pens have been vocal with referees in the past and it’s something they want to improve upon. Head coach Mike Johnston has addressed the issue with the players throughout the season.
“We talk about how we deal with the officials as a team, we have talked about that,” Johnston said. “The officials in this league do so many games with teams. How you handle the officials as a coach and as a leadership group, the other players shouldn’t be dealing with the officials at all. It’s the leadership group and the coaches.
"How you deal with the coaches has an impact as you move forward because referees talk to each other. You don’t want to have the reputation of being a team that complains or whines. I don’t believe that we have, but I’ve seen some signs during the course of the year that I don’t like. We have to address them as they come up.”
Letang admits the team has made strides in dealing with officials, but still needs to improve.
“Compared to a few years ago, I think we’ve been better,” Letang said. “But that’s the way that people see us. We’re always all over the referee so we need to get better at that, even better than this year. We have to control what we can control and not worry about those things.”
Johnston had a few updates on some of the Pens' injured players.
Hornqvist, who suffered an undisclosed injury in the third period against Detroit, will not join the team on their upcoming three-game road trip, though it isn’t expected to be a long-term injury.
“We’re not sure exactly how long it will be,” Johnston said Monday afternoon after practice. “By not coming on the trip he’s going to be out for a week. (The athletic trainers) feel it’s roughly about that timeline.”
Evgeni Malkin, who was injured Saturday against Boston, also will not begin the trip with the team, though he could join them at some point. He is listed as day-to-day.
The Pens held an optional skate at Southpointe. Ten skaters and both goalies took part. The participants were forwards Craig Adams, Steve Downie, Maxim Lapierre, Daniel Winnik, Andrew Ebbett, Beau Bennett and Nick Spaling, defensemen Ben Lovejoy, Ian Cole and Letang and goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Thomas Greiss.