On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins let go of head coach Mike Johnston and replaced him with Wilkes-Barre Scranton coach Mike Sullivan.
In the moments after the firing, General Manager Jim Rutherford addressed the media, but on Sunday, it was the players’ turn to explain what went wrong.
“It’s never a great situation, obviously, as players. We take full responsibility,” said Sidney Crosby, per NHL.com. “The coach is the one that takes the fall, but ultimately, it’s on us. So, we’ve got to be better. There’s no question the expectations are high. We just basically have to be better. It’s pretty clear-cut, I think. Today, just getting to know Mike [Sullivan] a little bit and we’ll see as things go along. It’s only been a few hours, so we’ll see what adjustments and things we can expect.”
The Penguins captain hasn’t been himself on the ice this year.
Crosby has never averaged under a point-per-game in the NHL, but he currently has 19 points in 28 games.
Like Crosby, veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi also put the blame on the players.
“We all share the blame,” Scuderi said. “I know it’s a boring cliché that no one wants to hear, but that’s just the truth of it. We all share the blame and it cost two guys their jobs. … Just playing with a little more emotion [is what can improve]. I think that’s something we had at times, and at other times, it would slide — it might even be 20 minutes of a game — but that’s too much in this league. The tide can turn that fast.”
The Penguins are currently fifth in the Metropolitan division behind the Capitals, Islanders, Rangers and Devils.
They trail New Jersey by two points for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference (Pittsbugh has two games in hand).