Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan gave an impassioned defense of Jeff Carter and Brian Dumoulin following Saturday’s 6-0 drubbing at the New York Rangers, saying that the media is “picking on” them.
That’s ridiculous but understandable. Sullivan should do that. He's got to be in his players' corner.
But when Sullivan fairly boasted that Carter ranks sixth among NHLers in faceoff winning percentage, it evoked the notion of luxury seating on the Hindenburg.
Some things about the Penguins are indefensible. Carter is one of them.
Carter has no goals in 10 games, one goal in 19 games.
Carter was minus-4 in 8:28 of ice time in the disastrous 6-4 home loss to Montreal on March 13. That’s more mind-boggling than five goals, five ways. Carter wasn’t an innocent bystander in that debacle, either. He was at the scene of the crime.
Carter does well on faceoffs in terms of volume. But he loses big draws.
Carter moves at a snail’s pace. If Mikael Granlund is “Granny,” Carter should be “great granny.” It’s like watching a 90-year-old.
Carter, 38, isn’t a good player in a bad patch. He’s washed up.
Yet he’s contracted for another year after this one. Carter’s deal is prominent among those that cause the Penguins’ salary-cap woes.
Carter was inexplicably protected in the 2021 expansion draft. Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev left the Penguins instead. (McCann has 33 goals for Seattle.)
Maybe the media should pick on Sullivan for continuing to play Carter, and too occasionally in big situations. Or pick on GM Ron Hextall for doing too much to look out for Carter, his crony from their days with Los Angeles. #BuddySystem
Sullivan is clearly upset with the media over Carter’s treatment. Carter reportedly has his knickers in a twist, too. He hasn’t talked to the media in months. (Fine by me.)
If Carter is, indeed, being “picked on,” the best way to stop that is to play better.
As for Dumoulin, he's not been the same since his injuries and surgeries.
But Dumoulin deserves benefit of the doubt because of what he's accomplished as a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins. Carter hasn't done anything in Pittsburgh. His respect was earned elsewhere.