Well, it’s here, the last day the Penguins players are in house before scattering around the world for the summer. Let’s get this over with, it’s your breakup day roundup.
Rutherford to stay
Not really news, but general manager Jim Rutherford isn’t going anywhere and might even outlast the Pittsburgh media. Let’s hope.
Rutherford: I will make some changes; I can't give you a definite answer on who or positions right now. But we're a good team; we'll be a good team going forward. We have the nucleus to win. And we have players other teams will want that will enable us to make those changes.— Angie (@acarducci) May 9, 2018
Rutherford on potential roster changes pic.twitter.com/3qhnZptZPR— Jonathan Bombulie (@BombulieTrib) May 9, 2018
Phil Kessel update: hurt!
Rutherford said Kessel dealt with injuries all year. And in the playoffs "those things caught up with him." -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 9, 2018
Rutherford also said surgery wasn’t necessary. It was believed Kessel was dealing with a wrist injury as well as a shoulder issue from earlier in the season.
Brassard update: hurt!
Derick Brassard didn’t look good in the playoffs, and surprise surprise, Derick Brassard wasn’t healthy
Rutherford also said Brassard's injury was more significant than was let on.— Matt Gajtka (@MattGajtka) May 9, 2018
"He got an injury he couldn't overcome." Again, no specifics from anyone. Use your imagination I guess.
Brassard was said to have hurt his groin on 3/27 (never officially confirmed but believed by most). Groins don’t always heal in time for the 4/11 start of the playoffs.
Daniel Sprong update: gonna make waves next year!
—Rutherford on Daniel Sprong, “he should be a regular on our team next year.”
Rutherford says Penguins were very careful with Sprong but he should be a regular next season.— Shelly Anderson (@_ShellyAnderson) May 9, 2018
One on hand, yeah the Penguins did slow-play Sprong’s development and gave him plenty of AHL time. On the other hand, talking up prospects in the summer is a time-tested thing to do (see Pouliot, Derrick who was on the verge of being a regular from 2013-17). Time will tell but the words at least sound promising.
Justin Schultz update: feelin fine!
Schultz on if the two Cup runs caught up to them: "I don't know if that's an excuse. I felt fine." #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) May 9, 2018
Patric Hornqvist and Matt Murray also both said they were healthy. Dominik Simon had his thumb wrapped and said that injury happened in the Capitals series He said it didn’t effect him, but he also wasn’t very good down the stretch.
Zach Aston-Reese update: still disfigured!
ZAR is speaking as well as possible.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) May 9, 2018
• Diet is all liquid for a while
• Thought Caps were taunting him on bench but said it was “heat of the moment”
• Wilson did not reach out to him
• Concussion is doing better
Aston-Reese on his diet right now: “Just soups, and smoothies, (smiles) and ice cream.” pic.twitter.com/0jtYhTVT1L— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 9, 2018
Letang looking forward to put difficult comeback year behind him
Letang: It was eight months of doing nothing; you lose your conditioning. I thought I was going to get over the hump the first few weeks of the season, but it didn't happen that way.— Angie (@acarducci) May 9, 2018
Letang: I sacrifice everything for this team. My only goal is to spend the rest of my career here.— Jonathan Bombulie (@BombulieTrib) May 9, 2018
Sullivan on Letang's season: "His game was up and down. But he's a guy that we certainly think is one of the elite defensemen in this league." -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 9, 2018
Letang: “I know when I play well. I know when I make mistakes. That’s why I can tell you Game 5 is still on my mind. I made a costly mistake. I will always put that pressure on myself [rather than hear it from others].”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 9, 2018
Sometimes people forget how tough it is to be an NHL defenseman. And then be a guy who plays 23-27 minutes a night against the other team’s best offensive players. And try to do that in a season that started just months after a major neck surgery.
Kris Letang himself owned messing up this year, he knows he has to be better. Who knows if he’ll ever get back to playoff 2016 form when he was arguably the best defenseman in the game. But if he can improve off this season it would be wonderful.
Mike Sullivan update: still not telling you anything!
#Pens HC Sullivan: "I"m not going to disclose any injuries. I'd rather not get into the list of injuries that guys' had. (Kessel's) was not significant, I can tell you that." -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 9, 2018
From start to finish the coach isn’t giving any details. Gotta love it. Sullivan downplaying Kessel’s injury while Rutherford was more sympathetic that it “caught up with him” makes me want to believe the typically more open/honest GM more than the secretive coach. Sully doesn’t want the injury to be an excuse, so it makes sense. And the old fashioned eyeball test universally pointed to something bigger than just “bumps and bruises” like Sullivan would later say.
#Pens HCMS: It makes me that much hungrier to do it again and I can’t wait for Training Camp and to get to work again with this group.— Josh Getzoff (@PensJG) May 9, 2018
Probably only a little over 4 months until training camp starts again. It’ll be here before you know it, boys and girls.