Members of the organization have had months to search for answers on last years playoff debacle and one thing we’ve mentioned in the past is that the Penguins brass have felt something was missing the room last spring, more so than a lack of talent on the ice.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik had some interesting comments about this being a fragile group last year in the playoffs.
“For whatever reason, and it shouldn’t happen because we definitely have an experienced team, but I think it was really just the overall confidence of the team,” Orpik said via Mike Prisuta of DVE. “It was just a really fragile mindset for whatever reason. That’s unacceptable with the character and experience we have on our team. But you could see in the games going forward after we blew those leads in Game 1 and Game 2, we were just a step slower, a little tentative in our decision-making.”
“If you second guess yourself you’re always going to be a step behind,” Orpik said. “And then obviously the PK was a huge disappointment. It was just a lack of confidence. When you approach games PK or 5-on-5 not to make mistakes you’re going to get burned. You have to play to make plays, play with confidence. For whatever reason with an experienced group that has a lot of character, for some reason our confidence slipped and it obviously snowballed pretty quickly on us.”
Was this just a fluke situation with this group that suddenly they couldn’t deal with adversity last spring? Was this a coaching problem? (Pens management don’t think so). Did this group lack a Bill Guerin type of veteran in the locker room?
It’s something Ray Shero and his staff have debated and it’s one reason Sergei Gonchar has popped up in internal meetings about being a missing link for this team and being a calming presence in the room. One source says there are mixed opinions about Gonchar in the organization but whatever opinion Ray Shero has about possibly trading for Gonchar means the most.