Mike Sullivan sends a message to his team after ugly deadline.

Mike Sullivan sends a message to his team after ugly deadline.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan may be frustrated, but he is not ready to give up.

Jonathan Larivee

It can't be easy to be Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan right now.

Not only has Sullivan lost one of his top players, with forward Jake Guentzel traded to the Carolina Hurricanes ahead of Friday's National Hockey League trade deadline, but his team currently finds themselves desperately flailing as they fall further and further out of playoff contention.

It was an ugly week for the Penguins with some brutal losses that were followed by a clear message from management via the Guentzel trade, a message that clearly indicates management does not believe this group is a serious cup contender. In spite of that it remains Sullivan's job to motivate his players and to fight for that elusive playoff spot, and on Saturday morning Sullivan had a message of his own.

"We are going to try and make the playoffs," said the determined Penguins coach.

Sullivan will now have to rally his team after a terrible 6-0 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals this week and after the team had to say goodbye to Guentzel. The schedule won't be doing him any favors either with the Penguins playing a critical game against the Boston Bruins this afternoon.

How the Penguins perform in this one could be a big indicator of where this team is headed.