With the Penguins struggling through the first two months of the season, some have wondered if a coaching change could be on the horizon. Speaking with reporters today including Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, GM Kyle Dubas tried to downplay the idea that one could be coming, giving head coach Mike Sullivan a vote of confidence:
Being with him every day and not only seeing his attention to detail on the systems but his attention to detail with the players and coaching them individually and personally, I think we’re very fortunate to have Mike. Do I think that he’s the right person for this job now and far to the future? I absolutely do. It’s on me to help support the coaching staff as best I can to help us get going in the right direction.
Sullivan is in his ninth season behind the Penguins bench with the team posting a .621 points percentage in that stretch, certainly in the upper echelon. However, they enter play tonight sitting seventh in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 11-12-3, putting them six points out of a playoff spot already.
More from Pittsburgh:
- Rorabaugh also relayed some injury updates in a separate column. Winger Bryan Rust is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. He last played on Wednesday, leaving that game early. The 31-year-old has been a go-to piece for the Penguins through the first couple of months, notching 10 goals and 10 assists in 22 games, good for fourth on the team in scoring. With Rickard Rakell currently on LTIR (though eligible to return this weekend), Pittsburgh’s depth on the right wing is certainly going to be tested.
- Center Lars Eller didn’t take part in practice today due to an illness but Sullivan indicated that the veteran is expected to be available for Tuesday’s game against Arizona. The 34-year-old is in his first season with Pittsburgh after signing a two-year, $4.9MM contract early in free agency. Eller has three goals and five assists in 26 games so far while logging a little under 15 minutes a night.
- Meanwhile, fellow middleman Noel Acciari took to the ice before practice as he works his way back from a lower-body injury. The veteran has been out for a little more than a week with the issue and is currently on injured reserve but will be eligible to be activated as soon as he’s cleared to return. Acciari has three points and 44 hits in 22 games so far this season.