Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Josh Yohe of The Athletic posted an interesting tweet regarding the Penguins’ trade of winger Carl Hagelin to Los Angeles on Nov. 14, 2018:

That tells me there’s only one word to describe the Penguins’ locker room, and I’m going to spell it out for you: S-A-W-F-T.

How, exactly, did Hagelin’s departure “rip apart the locker room”? Did players turn on each other? Were the altercations physical, verbal or both? Did anyone pull a gun?(Brian Pillman, represent!)

Now, we speculate if the locker room will be angered further if the reported trade of Patric Hornqvist to Florida goes through. Perhaps hostages will be taken.

No offense to Yohe, because he doesn’t make this up. I know players have said this. I’m told some cried when Hagelin got sent packing.

But players get traded all the time. It's a business, not a junior-high dance.

That locker room needs to get its knickers untwisted and stop making excuses for what’s happened, and what may happen. Teams that lose three straight playoff series and haven’t been worth a damn in the postseason since 2018 lose the right to blame ruptured chemistry.

Chemistry is mostly fiction, anyway.

You never hear about a losing team that had great chemistry, or a championship team with bad chemistry. It’s something assigned after the fact, like the value of leadership. Talent and execution determine.

Mark Messier is acknowledged as hockey’s greatest captain. The NHL’s leadership award is named after him. But Messier’s team missed the playoffs in each of his last seven seasons.

Did Messier forget how to lead? Or were his teams just lousy?

Hagelin has four goals and three assists in his last 39 playoff games. That spans four postseasons. Hagelin was a valuable, speedy component for two Stanley-Cup winners in Pittsburgh, but his absence is hardly why the Penguins have stumbled.

The Penguins are organically disintegrating. Aging out. Just like Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles before them.Any other explanation is just a smokescreen.

Courtesy of Getty Images

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