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Pens-Bolts postgame

LIGHTNING 3, PENGUINS 1

Make it four in a row and five losses in six for the Penguins. So…

BELIEVE ME NOW?

At least one traveling reporter has been saying for a few weeks that the Penguins have some problems that should raise some eyebrows. Well, their performance Saturday afternoon at Tampa Bay was enough to singe the eyebrows off any of the many Pittsburghers that paid for entry into St. Pete Times Forum. A look at what was said by notable Penguins after a 3-1 loss in which they were out-shot, out-chanced and out-worked:

D BROOKS ORPIK

It’s kind of like we’re just showing up and assuming… I don’t want to say expecting to win, because you do have to have a kind of swagger or confidence that you expect to win; but I think right now we think we’re good enough to show up and beat whoever we play, and we’re not.”

“I don’t know how good we are to be honest. Early in the season I think we got lucky with a lot of games, a lot of different aspects of it. Maybe it’s catching up to us now. The level of desperation is not where it needs to be.”

“I don’t know about soul searching. I think one things is priorities. Besides your family hockey has to be your top priority; for some reason right now, I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I think everyone has to maybe reevaluate where their priorities are right now.”

“When you play 82 games your focus can slip sometimes, especially around the holidays. There are a lot of distractions and stuff like that. Not getting too far ahead of ourselves, but maybe a long road trip is what we need.”

RW BILL GUERIN

Stretches like this – yeah, it (is) frustration. You just have to take a step back and get back to basics. The more you do, the more you press, the worse you are going to make it. Teams go through stretches like this all the time.”

“(Players were) not (pressing) tonight. We just didn’t have our heads on the right way. No (reason). That’s… it. I know we don’t want to play like this. There are some questions we’re asking ourselves. It’s not an easy time; but again, we’re still in a good spot. We’ve still got a good team. We’ll get through it.”

”We can do most of the little things better. I can’t say all of them, but most of them, yeah. That’s just something that as players we have to address. As a team, and individually, we just have to do them.”

D MARK EATON

“We’re obviously not real happy. Losing four in a row, five of six, is not a good feeling.”

“We’re getting outplayed and beating ourselves. We know if we can put a full game together, execute and play a smart game we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win. It’s something we haven’t been doing.”

“One thing you can always say is our team works shard. Dogging it is not even an issue.”

C SIDNEY CROSBY

Our game has got to be better. There’s no real excuse. There (are) no common problems. We’re not executing and we’re paying the price for it.”

“It’s never really a question of (effort). For the most part our team is always working hard. Whether or not we’re working smart… executing, that’s a big word. We’ve got a group who has a lot of character and pride in their game, but we’ve got to work on executing.”

“I don’t think (it’s) embarrassing.”

“It’s been different things every game. It hasn’t really been the same thing. A common thing for us throughout is we haven’t spent enough time in the other team’s zone. That’s something we pride ourselves on. Whatever we’ve got to do… there’s a lot of things that create that pressure that we’ve got to work on.”

“We know we’ve got better. That’s the bottom line.”

GOT THOUGHTS? Feedback is always welcome. Send emails to hockeyday@tribweb.com or rrossi@tribweb.com. Emails without writers’ full name and current hometown will not be read.

–BY ROB ROSSI (1/2/10, in TAMPA)

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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