Penguins clean out lockers, acknowledge change is coming



The Penguins are cleaning out their lockers and saying their good-byes for the summer today, less than 48 hours after their season ended in a Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs.

Several players spoke with reporters and indicated that, while they realize changes probably are coming in the wake of blowing a 3-1 series lead against New York, they like the team and coaching staff as constructed.

Team captain Sidney Crosby said what he called "negativity" and "rumors" are normal when a team falls short of expectations.

Penguins players talk about disappointing finish

Sidney Crosby and other Penguins talk about the disappointing end to their season, bowing out in the second round of the NHL playoffs to the New York Rangers. (Video by Andrew Rush; 5/15/2014)

SportsNOW: Postmortem on Penguins and NFL Draft

The PG's Dan Gigler, Jerry Micco and Gene Collier offer opinions and analysis of the Penguins' post-season collapse and the Steelers' NFL draft picks. (Video by Melissa Tkach; 5/15/2014)

"The expectations are high. If you don't deliver, you have to own up to that as players and as an organization," Crosby said. "We all understand that. It's part of the way it works. We'll see what happens from here."

The most likely to take a fall is coach Dan Bylsma, although there was no indication as of early afternoon that any firings or changes were imminent.

MORE analysis of Dan Bylsma’s future from Dave Molinari

Meanwhile, winger Beau Bennett revealed that a setback he had with his wrist during the season was actually "back to square one," and that he will need more surgery.

Bennett said he expects to be recovered in time for next season, and that his wrist limited him so much that he was "useless" in the six games he played against the Rangers. He was not in the lineup for Game 7.

Penguins winger Jussi Jokinen, who led the team during the playoffs with seven goals and was second with 10 points, said he was dealing with a right wrist injury. He expects it to heal with a few weeks of rest.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who led the team in the postseason with 14 points, plans to join Team Russia at the ongoing IIHF world championships in Minsk.

Defenseman Olli Maatta was asked to join Team Finland but declined after a fatiguing rookie season.

Crosby said he has not had contact with Team Canada and does not plan to go to Minsk.

READ MORE on the Pens: 10 reasons the Penguins failed in 2013-14


Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.

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