Less than 48 hours after being defeated by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference final, the Penguins held their final media availability of the season today.
Captain Sidney Crosby fielded a variety of questions about the series as well as the future of his teammates and coaches in an offseason which could bring a multitude of change to the organization.
How do you digest being swept by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference final to the Bruins?
"It’s obviously something we’re not pleased about. I don’t know if here’s a ton we could change besides scoring. I feel like we did a lot of good things but we weren’t able to get those big goals."
Did Dan Bylsma and the coaches make the right decisions in the series?
"We were right there. We had chances. As players we need to execute. There’s only so much he can do. He doesn’t go out there and play. You’re responsible for not finding a way to win. That’s our responsibility."
How much will you dwell on this loss?
"At some point you’ve got to move on. It stings early on obviously but we don’t have a long offseason. It’s going to be pretty quick and we’re going to be ready for next year. In time, we’ll try to learn from it and move forward."
How much change do you expect in this organization this offseason?
"Potentially, a bit. We’ll have to see. We know that are some guys here that are unrestricted [free agents]. We’ll have to see. That’s something as a player you sit and wait and see."
Will you lobby general manager Ray Shero to re-sign wingers Pascal Dupuis and/or sign Chris Kunitz to an extension?
"I don’t think that’s my job. If Ray asked me, I’d be glad to share my opinion but at the end of the day, that’s up to him. That’s not a decision I’ll make. I obviously have a lot of great things to say about those guys. I’m sure he’s well aware of that. I think we have some good chemistry and things like that but that’s not really my position to do that. I have a lot of great things to say about those guys. I think we play well together. If it works out, that will be the decision made."
Where do things stand in terms of your recovery from your injured jaw?
"Everything’s good as far as my jaw. It’s healed. No issues there. I could probably use a few teeth but other than that, the jaw’s good."
What is like not being in the Stanley Cup Final?
"It’s disappointing. But that’s hockey. There’s no guarantees. We feel like we had a team capable of doing that and being there but it doesn’t always work out that way. That’s the game. It wasn’t a lack of effort or compete or anything like that. It just didn’t happen."
How were the Bruins able to shut down yourself and the team's other top stars?
"I think if we get those chances consistently, there’s no real explanation for it. I don’t feel like we got shut down. I felt like we didn’t score. I feel like the chances were there. In Game 3, I think [Malkin] had 21 attempted shots. You don’t see numbers like that. To think that we had those chances and it didn’t go in or that it hit posts, it’s hard to explain that."
Should you have used different personnel on the power play which was 0 for 15 in the series?
"You look at our power play, probably at different points, we probably got more chances than we did in the other series. We generated, if not the same amount, maybe more. The puck didn’t find its way in the net for whatever reason. We hit posts or it bounced over our stick. We didn’t execute. That’s not an excuse. At the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to score. When the chances are there, it’s hard to think you would really change certain things. How can you justify changing something if you’re getting a ton of chances? Usually you kind of rely on the fact that those are usually going to go in."
How close was this series defensively?
"We didn’t give them much really. They got two of three goals were pretty good bounces. There’s a number of things. You can’t really pinpoint one thing as to why we lost. There’s different things. There’s timing and when you get big plays, that’s a big part of get momentum and winning and losing. There’s a pretty small margin. We just weren’t able to get those big plays."
You didn't feel any effects on the hit by Bruins forward Daniel Paille in Game 4?
"No, I’m good. I didn’t expect that one. Glad that there’s no effects from that."
How is the relationship between the players and coaches?
"It’s great. We were well prepared. I think as players, we appreciate everything coaches do to make us ready to play and give us every opportunity to be successful. They communicate well with everyone. We’re given every opportunity to be successful. Whether you’ve been here for a while or you just came here recently, I think everyone will tell you that we all feel pretty fortunate to have that group [of coaches]."
Do you anticipate any changes among the coaching staff?
"I’m not sure. There’s a lot of things that can happen. If you don’t meet the expectations – obviously they’re pretty high for us – I don’t think there’s anything they could have done differently. We were put in a position to be successful."
Has Shero asked your opinion on players or personnel moves in the past?
"He’s asked about me my opinion about certain guys or guys I’ve played with or things like he would. Maybe a [defensive] pairing or anything like that. But I haven’t had a chance to sit down with Ray yet. We’ll see what happens with that meeting."
When will you get your new teeth?
"Tomorrow I think. They’ll be temporary. It’s not like a one-shot deal. It will be a few appointments. It will be a few appointments."
(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)