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Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Erik Karlsson with the puck in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Kings at PPG Paint Arena.
Photo credit: NHL - Pittsburgh Penguins

Head Coach Mike Sullivan Calls out Veteran Defenseman

Published February 20, 2024 at 9:55
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The Pittsburgh Penguins are slumping with another one goal lose recently, this time to the Kings on Sunday 2-1. With 55 points, the Pens are second to last in the Metro division, above the Columbus Blue Jackets. With some difficult division games coming up, the Penguins are going to need everyone to perform to their abilities.

Erik Karlsson Needs to Play to His Potential for the Penguins and Sullivan Knows He Has Another Level



In the offseason, the thought was the Erik Karlsson was part of the solution. Missing the playoffs last year was something the team wanted to avoid, so they signed the currently Norris Trophy winning defenseman. His performance thus far has been very standard. He is not close to on pace with his stats from last year.

According to Sullivan, there is another level that Karlsson can get to, and I think the Penguins need it from him.


«Obviously, he's an elite player and a really talented guy, and a guy that drives a lot of offense whether 5-on-5 or the power play,» Sullivan said of Karlsson. «That's what he's done in his body of work in the league. That's what he's done for us. You know, I still think there's another level of Karl that we're trying to unlock here; I think it's an important element of us having success moving forward.»

Karlsson Acknowledges Penguins Situation and How it is Being Handled in the Locker Room



When asked about the team performance, Karlsson also feels that the Penguins need to play for their playoffs now.

«I think it's been feeling like that for six weeks, maybe. But yeah, it's been feeling like that for a while,» said Karlsson. «And it's tough to play under those circumstances. But that's the circumstance that we're in. I think with the group that we have here, it's been handled as good as we possibly can. I don't think that we've had the result that we wanted. You know, there are various reasons for that, I'm sure. But I think that one thing that I've seen is the resilience, and the belief has never really wavered.»

Karlsson also went on to comment further about playing for a team with much higher expectations who are struggling to meet them.



For the Penguins to think about any playoff hopes, they will need their elite level players like Karlsson to play up to their abilities.

As Read On: The Hockey Feed - Penguins coach Mike Sullivan calls out Erik Karlsson
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Head Coach Mike Sullivan Calls out Veteran Defenseman

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