Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Players Abuzz about Rant by Dallas Executive

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Players Abuzz about Rant by Dallas Executive

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - As the Penguins have gotten back on track, the Dallas Stars seemingly have tumbled off the rails. Their CEO, Jim Lites, ripped into the team's two biggest stars Friday, saying Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are "not getting it done" and have been "terrible."

Lites' rant, full of expletives, was a topic of conversation among Penguins players Saturday morning, although none of them could picture anything even remotely close happening with co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux or president/CEO David Morehouse.

"It's tough for me to talk about that," Olli Maatta said of the Stars situation. "For us, [coach Mike Sullivan] does a great job keeping it in the room and just being honest. That's what you need. If you play well, he'll tell you. If you play poorly, he'll tell you. That's the way it is here."

The source of Lites' rant was apparently Dallas owner Tom Gaglardi, who texts Lites all the time, furious his team and those players have struggled so much.

Penguins assistant coach Mark Recchi knows Gaglardi well, as Gaglardi leads a team of four investors in the WHL's Kamloops Blazers that includes Recchi.

Recchi politely declined to discuss the situation Saturday morning but agreed that never in a billion years would Burkle, Lemieux or Morehouse do something like that, no matter how much the Penguins struggled.

Jack Johnson said it was surprising to hear those comments - "They are [expletive] horse [expletive]" was one that got repeated a bunch - but the message for players was fairly simple.

"Better get going," Johnson said with a slight smile. "I've never seen it before. I don't know what's going on there."

Oleksiak back . but not

Jamie Oleksiak (concussion) was a healthy scratch Saturday against St. Louis.

Although the Penguins have won four in a row since Oleksiak fought Tom Wilson 55 seconds into a 2-1 Penguins win Dec. 19 at Washington - allowing a total of four goals - Sullivan said it's about more than simply sticking with a winner.

"We try to put the best lineup on the ice that we think is going to give us the best chance to win," Sullivan said. "That's the question we try to answer each and every game. If it means making a change after a win, we'll do it. In this particular instance, with regard to our defensemen, we believe they're all playing extremity well right now."

Sunny finally shining

When Oskar Sundqvist was with the Penguins, the organization had two concerns - his skating and whether he could ever infuse some offense into his game. …

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