Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As the Pittsburgh Penguins enter Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Capitals two points outside of a playoff spot and having lost five of their last eight games, former Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis took a shot at Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan on Tuesday, saying that he sensed that there was some disconnect between Sullivan and star forwards Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.
He said that “I’m not sure the message passes well between both players and the man behind the bench.”
“The message has to go through better,” Dupuis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday. “It’s not ‘message’ in that they don’t listen to what he says. The boys need to take their own part of it, too. If they want to win, they have to work together.”
He repeated those comments later on, saying “The message doesn’t go through half the time with three-quarters of the players,” Dupuis said, speaking of hockey teams in general.
Mike Sullivan on Pascal Dupuis saying there’s an issue w/Sullivan, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel: “I’m surprised/disappointed. … It’s very irresponsible on his part when he should know better having been in a dressing room and understand what we go through on a daily basis.”
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) December 19, 2018
Despite his comments, Dupuis, 39, said he still picks the Penguins to win every game and the Stanley Cup.
“I’m picking them to win the Stanley Cup,” Dupuis said. “I’m picking them to win every night. I was so happy to see everybody in Pittsburgh. I’m no dummy. I’m not going to talk about stuff that’s happening in the locker room.”
If you’ve been paying attention for the last year, you didn’t need Pascal Dupuis to say it but he did tonight. Dupuis said “I’m not sure the message passes well between both players (71/81) and the man behind the bench.”
— Eric Bowser (@EricBowser412) December 19, 2018
When asked about those comments after the Penguins’ morning skate prior to their game against the Capitals on Wednesday, Sullivan ripped Dupuis, saying “I think it’s very irresponsible on his part, when he should know better having been in a dressing room and understanding what we go through on a daily basis,” Sullivan said. “It was a pretty irresponsible comment on his part.”
Dupuis spoke from the players’ side when he said “The coach doesn’t have to be your friend,” Dupuis said. “He needs to know when to put you out there. He needs to know how to get the best out of you.”
“It doesn’t matter if players are happy or not, as long as they perform. They’ll be happy with their teammates. They’ll love their teammates. They’ll battle for them and for themselves.”
By Harrison Brown