Penguins GM: Changes coming if losing continues

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is growing impatient.

The Penguins have dropped five straight games and Rutherford voiced his displeasure with his team's poor start and said changes will be made if it can't turn things around soon.

"Certainly if this continues, in short order, we're going to have to make some changes," Rutherford said during a radio appearance Wednesday before the club's 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Pens did make two moves Tuesday, calling up Zach Aston-Reese and Garrett Wilson from the AHL.

"Actions are louder than words," Rutherford said. "This will be the first move of a few if we don't get it going."

Rutherford didn't use specific names but called out members of the team's supporting cast.

"It's almost like the guys come to the games and say, 'Let's just let the top guys do it. Let's let (Sidney Crosby), (Evgeni Malkin), (Phil Kessel), and (Kris Letang) carry us,'" Rutherford said. "We'll just get through the game and move on to the next game, forget about the work ethic it takes or forget about the role they play.

"But when those guys can't get it done, whether they're shut down or they're not having a good game, that's when we need those other guys to come in and contribute and help win games. We're not getting it."

Outside of those big names Rutherford mentioned, Derick Brassard, Daniel Sprong, Carl Hagelin, Bryan Rust, and Riley Sheahan have combined for just four goals through the club's first 14 games. Meanwhile, Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel are all averaging better than a point per game.

Rutherford wasn't done there, though. He also commented on the team's "inconsistent goaltending," as well as players who recently received big contract extensions.

"They get bigger contracts, and they kind of settle in," he said.

Rutherford questioned whether his team - which has won back-to-back Stanley Cups - is growing stagnant.

"Has this team been together too long? It's something I always have to watch for," Rutherford said. "When do you have to make those changes? The players are doing everything they can to tell me now's the time."

Penguins GM: Changes coming if losing continues
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