The Penguins held their last media session yesterday as they cleaned up the details on the 2020-21 season.
Kris Letang had some telling quotes, and with one year remaining on his contract there will be questions about his future and Evgeni Malkin’s. Letang spoke for the core three today saying.
Kris Letang: "Me, Geno and Sid want to finish as Penguins." pic.twitter.com/F7W9YaUDds— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 28, 2021
Mike Sullivan gave an update on Malkin.
“Geno was dealing with a knee injury, and he fought really hard to get back into our lineup,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “He was not 100%. I think I’m probably stating the obvious when I say that, but he fought really hard to get back in the lineup to try to help us win.”
Malkin played with a knee brace, and played well too. He scored five points (1G+4A) in the final four games of the season.
Sullivan also announced that goalie Casey DeSmith was dealing with a “soft tissue groin injury” these past few weeks and what had held him out of the lineup.
The big topic, of course, was the other goalie.
“I think it’s just learning from it and getting better,” Tristan Jarry said of his postseason experience. “That was my first time playing in postseason games consecutively. I think just being able to learn from that, learn from the goals I let in, learn from the mistakes that I had - I think that’ll make me a better person and a better goalie.”
Jarry mentioned that other goalies had reached out to lend support, and he was also thankful of his teammates having his back.
“I think that was something that was uplifting, and something that will help me get through it and just motivate me and push me to be better next year,” Jarry said.
Neither Jarry nor Sullivan would directly address if the goalie would be back next season as the Penguins’ top netminder.
“That’s their decision,” Jarry said. “It’s out of my control. There’s nothing I can do about that. It’s up to them. It’s up to management. I think just having a good summer, pushing myself and just coming back as the best version of myself is all I can do.”
Brandon Tanev said below what almost every player who spoke said in some form or fashion. It apparently wasn’t as contrite as some media members were hoping to hear, but it makes a lot of sense from the outside looking in. And what can anyone really say or do at this point, anyways?
#Pens Tanev: It's not the result anyone wanted. It still stings, it's something we didn't expect. You can say a lot of things, but at the end of the day, we just didn't get the job done. We had a great team and we all thought we had a great run here.— Josh Getzoff (@PensJG) May 28, 2021
Finally, here’s a nice piece from Dan Hopper which might help put the playoff exit in perspective and find the words about how you are feeling. It’s worth a read.
Wrote about the Pens' playoff exit and the difference between regular "getting mad at sports" and the specific, palpable frustration of "this team deserved better" https://t.co/fvDFz4YTyW— Dan Hopper (@DanHoppOPS) May 28, 2021
This part spoke to me:
I’ve never been a big “CHAMPIONSHIPS are the only thing that MATTERS” guy, because that’s an insane way to live that will doom oneself to perpetual anger, and even the people who repeat that cliche don’t believe it. Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein’s “History Of The Seattle Mariners” YouTube doc explored that theme to great effect last year — the joy of appreciating the aspects of sports and fandom that have nothing to do with “winning the big one.” But this Pens loss wasn’t simply a case of “they didn’t win the Cup, therefore I’m programmed to believe it was a failure and I am mad”— it was a unique opportunity that came and went and was over so quickly, we feel cheated.
It feels like this is going to take a while to decompress and realize it is over. The condensed nature of 56 games in 116 days and a long playoff round and now...Just nothing.
But, hey, Kasperi Kapanen looked cool and like he was heading directly to a beach somewhere. So that’s worth a laugh.