Penguins Need To Revisit 'Just Play' Mantra

AT&T SportsNet's Steve Mears: Pens should stick with their recipe for success

The Fan Morning Show
February 21, 2019 - 10:56 am
Mike Sullivan talks to his team

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- AT&T SportsNet's Penguins play-by-play announcer Steve Mears joined The Fan Morning Show on Thursday to talk about some of the things this team should do to set themselves up for another deep playoff run. 

Mears addressed the possible idea across the league that the best way to beat the Penguins is to try to rough them up physically and get them to engage in the "extra stuff" to throw them off their game.   

"The last time [the Lightning] were here in Pittsburgh that was clearly the game plan. They came out and they were hitting everything, right from the opening shift," said Mears. "A couple of huge hits, one of them injured Evgeni Malkin in that game and then later on he got in the fight with Steven Stamkos. So, yeah I think to some degree, especially when it comes to some of the star players...teams, even though it's not that era anymore, teams still might try to do that."

"However, I always go back and I hope the mantra is still there, when Mike Sullivan first arrived in Pittsburgh the slogan was 'Just Play.' We just play. How many times did we hear that? It was on the t-shirts and I think he realized that that was necessary to preach because the book on the Penguins was you could get them off their game, you could get under their skin. I thought that was so brilliant and it led to a championship of course in 2016 when he first arrived and then they won it again. I think the Penguins sometimes need to revisit that."   

Mears also commented on the style of play the Penguins have been lately and the impact Justin Schultz's return makes. 

"There was definitely some things to like in the most recent game in New Jersey. Now, tonight is going to be a completely different test because I think San Jose is probably about as good an opposing team as we have seen all season. They're unbelievably talented, so many good defenseman and really deep at forward. But, we are seeing a more responsible game defensively, better decisions with the puck."

"I think the defensive dynamic is a lot more well-rounded with Justin Schultz coming back and he just makes such a difference. This guy is so underrated. I don't think it was talked about enough in those four months when he was out how much he was missed. As a right-handed guy, a puck mover, it's so important for the Pens to get the puck up ice quickly, get it into the hands of those talented forwards and he makes a huge difference. I think we've seen that over these last few games." 

You can hear the entire interview with AT&T SportsNet's Steve Mears on The Fan Morning Show below.            

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