The Pittsburgh Penguins looked like an "average" team Thursday night against Marc-Andre Fleury's Vegas Golden Knights (geez - how weird does it feel to say that?).
They lost 2-1, and only managed 8 shots through the first half of the game. That amount increased to 25 by the end of the night, making for a very easy night for Fleury, who only had to make a couple tough stops.
Ian Cole, the only player to solve his former teammate, was pretty critical of his team's performances as of late.
“It's been the case too many times this year,” he said to Josh Yohe of The Athletic. “It's happening too often right now. There have been a few terrible ones (performances). But there have been too many games where we were just average. We don't think we're just an average team. We expect ourselves to be better. We haven't been as good as we've been hoping to be. It needs to change.”
Average. Terrible. The fact is, he's speaking the truth, as he is often known to do to the media. It's been one of the major things that has rubbed head coach Mike Sullivan the wrong way, sparking these intense trade rumors over the last month.
Sullivan's comments post-game weren't all that noteworthy, but the general tone of them was cautious optimism, clashing with Cole's comments above. Sullivan sees the team's deficiencies but also sees that the team is playing tight games and a small uptick in execution could have been the difference in 4 of the team's 5 last games, all of which have been one goal games.
Who's right - Cole or Sullivan?