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Insider Only Lot’s of Tortorella type talk from Mike Sullivan on Day 1


If you listen to John Tortorella much since taking over in Columbus, it was a lot of similar talk from Mike Sullivan today on his first day of the job as Penguins head coach.

Trusting the process, creating an identity, playing the right way, among key points of interest for Sullivan.

“For me I’ve always had an honest straight forward approach,” Sullivan said today after practice. “I hope I can aspire these guys to play a certain way. For me only way I know how to do it is an honest candid assessment.”

One of Mike Johnston’s biggest downfalls and some of this also falls on the construction of the team is the Penguins lack of identity over the last year.

Last season one month they wanted to be a skilled/dynamic team, next month they wanted to be a gritty team. This season no identity has emerged and part of that falls on a disconnect throughout from management to the coach to the players.

Inside the Penguins room there’s a problem with one side of the room believing the Penguins need to play a certain way and the other side of the room wanting to play another way. Finding a way to create an identity is going to be Sullivan’s biggest challenge and an area he knows the Penguins have to develop.

“I talked to them about creating an identity as a group,” Sullivan said. “I challenged them to embrace the process. We have to embrace the struggle here. No secret Pittsburgh Penguins are built by speed and skill.” On What Sullivan is looking for the Penguins to evolve into — “Team that is difficult to play against. Team that doesn’t defeat itself. Lots that go into an identity aside from style of play,” Sullivan said.

“What I’m going to try to do with this group is define a team game, play the right way….. Unwavering commitment to the process,” Sullivan said.


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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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