Jake Guentzel’s return to Pittsburgh with Carolina on Tuesday was nice. Excellent tribute video. Good crowd pop. 

But Guentzel didn’t score. So, no half-price milkshakes. 

Guentzel stirred the pot when he said he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, but “they thought there was a better direction.” 

That’s nonsense. 

Sure, Guentzel wanted to stay. But at his price. 

It’s OK for Guentzel to want more. 

But if the Penguins thought signing Guentzel, 29, to a lucrative long-term deal was a bad move, not least because they’re burdened with several big contracts for even older players, that’s also OK. 

The Penguins traded Paul Coffey, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, Rick Tocchet, Tom Barrasso, Larry Murphy and Jaromir Jagr. 

The fuss made over trading Guentzel dwarfs that made over trading any of the above.

That’s outside and inside the locker room. Social media inflames the former. The latter is odd, especially to the rumored degree.

I mentioned the in-house commotion to a Penguin who played on the 1991 and ‘92 Stanley Cup teams. He replied, “We traded Coffey and Recchi.” 

That happened in ‘92, and the Penguins went on to win a second straight Cup. This is a far less promising circumstance. 

But trades shouldn’t be taken personally. And the mourning period should have long since ended.

That’s no criticism of Guentzel. Great player. A winner. A real Penguin. Excellent teammate. 

But get over it. 

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders

Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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