Jim Rutherford spoke publicly recently on the possibility of him making a major change to the roster should things continue to trend in the same direction for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The players in the locker room got the message, and while they know it's business, they can't help but admit it's a bit concerning, as they want to stay a team.
“We know what he said,” Conor Sheary said to The Athletic's Josh Yohe. “It's a bit concerning for the guys in this room. We all know we have another level. We expect more from ourselves. It's a business we're in. He's trying to send a message. He's got a job to do.”
“It does get our attention,” Jake Guentzel added. “We all know we have to be better. When he says something like that, we notice.”
“We all know changes will eventually come if we aren't better,” Carl Hagelin said. He happens to be one of the players who needs to turn things around big time, as he's one of Rutherford's top priorities to unload, especially if things continue the way they've been going. “It's the way the business goes. And, you know, sometimes guys need a kick in the butt. We want this group to stay together and win together. We know we have to better.”
Pittsburgh is 16-13-3 and out of a playoff spot. They are right in the thick of it and you'd be hard-pressed to believe that they won't make the big show. But as things stand, they are by no means a lock, and they'll have to turn things around if they want to remain a group, and compete for a third consecutive Stanley Cup.