Tim Benz: The Penguins Better Listen to Jim Rutherford


44 minutes ago

In the best case, the Penguins will play a good playoff series with Erik Gudbranson and Chris Wideman, newly acquired, in the scam.

They are not that good. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has given two players who are not so good at getting them: Tanner Pearson and Jean-Sebastien Dea.

The two new guys are on board to stop the bleeding during this episode of injury to the defenders. They are here to provide insurance after that.

What Jim Rutherford said about the players he picked up at the trading deadline Monday afternoon was not important.

What was important was how Rutherford decided to characterize his team's chances in the playoffs.

He is "nervous" about these chances.

I'm here with him.

"We're good enough to come in," Rutherford said. "We are good enough to run.

"I feel comfortable with this team. But I say this for the moment being a little worried about whether we will enter. It will be a battle to the end. "

Yeah. I could not have summed up the situation myself.

It seems obvious. I have been feeling the same for months. But these feelings are more serious when the leader of the list says it out loud.

The Penguins have winners of Conn Smythe, stars and Stanley Cup rings in this locker room. If the club participates in the playoffs, who can say that he can not do any damage?

They own the Blue Jackets in the playoffs. They can beat the islanders. Of course, the Capitals eliminated them last year. But maybe it was a stroke of luck.

Again, they could finish ninth or tenth of the conference and play golf at Easter.

"We played well, but there are inconsistencies in our game," Rutherford said.

You think? This team has evolved so much that Kennywood will call his next roller coaster "The Penguin".

"We have to make every effort to make you a good team," Rutherford said. "Our caretaking must be consistent and strong. We need to be healthy in defense and hopefully we can do it here this weekend. Our attackers must do what they are capable of doing. "

Easier to say than to do.

Rutherford is right, though. If all that was not enough to awaken Penguin fans, what about this quote from the GM when I asked if he was close to swapping his first round pick?

"This is a year when we are on the bubble to enter (in the playoffs)," said Rutherford. "I did not want to risk that, but it's also a very good draft. It was important this year to keep this choice. "

• It is Rutherford who admits that a team with a remaining core of teams that have won two of the last three Stanley Cups is now "on the bubble".

• Rutherford gives priority to a future choice over the ability to help a list now. It's something he rarely does.

• It is Rutherford who ensures that his team could be in the lottery with a selection in the top half of the draft.

It's pretty boring, since Rutherford is generally an optimistic and efficient GM.

The next nine games will largely dictate the fate of the Penguins season. Eight of these competitions are against teams currently in the series hunt for the Eastern Conference.

Three of them are against Columbus, the opponent of Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets are a franchise with 73 points, one better than the Penguins. They are currently being cut in the third place of the subway, good for the last qualifying position for the playoffs.

Other games in this series include duels against the Canadiens, Capitals, Bruins and two against the Sabers.

They all rank between the third and the tenth of the conference.

The Penguins currently occupy ninth place in the East, a playoff spot. This is the last game of the season for a team led by Sidney Crosby who is no longer in the playoffs since 2009.

"You are in desperate mode," said Crosby. "I think we had already been there before the end of the match with 20 games to play. You just have to make sure you have a playoff mentality. We have understood it for a while. We have to fight to get points and win our way there. "

The captain seems to know the circumstances. The Executive Director seems aware of the circumstances. After reading these quotes, fans and the media may be aware of the circumstances.

Pittsburgh hockey fans should be hopeful that the rest of the Penguins' locker room will be there as well.

Tim Benz is an editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be republished. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise noted.

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