As the Pittsburgh Penguins inch closer to the playoffs, Mike Sullivan sat down with the media on Wednesday to provide updates on the team.
The updates provided by Sully were certainly enough to bring smiles to the faces of every Pittsburgh Penguins fan. For starters, every Pens player is back in Pittsburgh, and they are only waiting on Patric Hornqvist to get done with quarantine protocol. Adding to this good news is the timing of it all. As the NHL moves into Phase 3, the Pens will be at full force.
Phase 3 of the National Hockey League’s Return to Play plan looks to transition on or around July 10th. By that time, Hornqvist will be out of quarantine, and the entire roster will be intact besides a few injured scratches. With that, Coach Sullivan also dove into the Penguins player’s mindsets leading up to the qualifying matchup against the Montreal Canadiens.
"“I know they are excited to play, I know how much of an opportunity they see in front of them.”"
Pittsburgh Penguins: Playoff updates per Coach Sullivan
The trend of good news kept flowing from that comment because it could be easy to look past a foe like the Habs and just expect to win. Seemingly, the Pens know that they have to earn it, and that should be just the motivation needed to press on.
Do I even have to say again that the trend continued during the Sully presser? He also addressed the apparent adjustment period that will be needed, but that’s excellent news for the Penguins. For the most part, everybody has stayed in contact over the COVID-19 break, and as soon as the quarantine lifted, they were all back in rapid succession.
We all loved the virtual Zoom meetings since the beginning of 2020, right? So did the Penguins, Coach Sullivan used that same strategy; except he used it to show different game films, teach lessons, and work on team concepts. He also stressed the importance of having essential leadership in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang all helping lead the way while apart.
This training camp has looked loads different than that of a typical 82 games season, but by now, the rust has been kicked off, and the majority of the Penguins are in full game mode. Great news for all, and let’s just hope they can take all of this positivity from the training rink to the real one next month.