Penguins GM Ron Hextall blasted for “gross error”

The Penguins GM has felt the heat this season.



If the Pittsburgh Penguins are to make the playoffs for a 17th straight season, they'll have to scratch and claw their way in. And even then, their prospects of actually making any noise are looking dismal. It wasn't long ago that the Penguins were warned that they were playing a dangerous game similar to that of what the Detroit Red Wings found themselves doing near the end of their postseason streak, doing everything possible to try and squeeze every last bit out of the toothpaste tube despite having no realistic shot at competing for the Stanley Cup. 

Of course, Penguins general manager Ron Hextall has felt the heat from the fans this season, even experiencing a noticeable "Fire Hextall" chant at PPG Paints Arena in a game earlier this year. And one particular move (or lack of a move, really) that he's being absolutely blasted for is the fact that he entered this season sticking with the tandem of Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith between the pipes.

Take a look at what Rob Rossi of The Athletic had to say about the situation, which he referred to as a "gross error" on the part of Hextall: 

"He (Jarry) hasn’t been someone you could depend on. I think they probably need him for these final five games, and I guess he would be the starter for the final five games. He’s been pulled four times in the last four weeks. 

We’ve seen him go into the crease in certain games and just look like he’s not able to do the basic things you would need a goaltender to do. It’s been very frustrating for the Penguins because they don’t really have a sense of which guy they’re going to get.

It’s why I’ve been writing and, and saying that, it was a gross error, one of many, I believe by this management team to depend on Jarry and Casey DeSmith, again this season when you have been let down by that tandem in two consecutive post-seasons, whether it’s because of performance or injury. But now it’s kind of a combination of performance and injury that has put the Penguins in a precarious situation and they often play like a team that chases chances because they don’t feel like their goaltenders can make enough stops. They’re not the most disciplined defensive team to begin with, so I think it’s going to be all about goaltending in the final five games."

Extremely strong words from someone who knows what they're talking about. Are the Penguins guilty of not doing everything possible to maximize the rapidly closing window while the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are still around?