As the Pittsburgh Penguins embark on a mission to win their third Stanley Cup in four seasons, Chase Williams had the chance to sit down and have a conversation with head coach Mike Sullivan.
Among the topics: What it would be like for the Penguins to get back to the top of the NHL?
“I think it would mean the world to all of us involved," Sullivan said. "I think when every team starts the season day one of training camp their ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup. We're not different. We believe we have a group that is capable and they've proven that they're capable with the amount of Stanley Cups that they've won over the last decade.”
The Penguins open their season against the Washington Capitals, the team that eliminated them on its way to its first Stanley Cup championship.
“You know we'll take what we can from it. We'll try to learn from those experiences. My hope is the fact that we didn't win last year will inspire this group to want to win again,” Sullivan said.
The pieces are definitely in place for the Penguins, with 19 of last season’s 23 roster players returning.
Matt Cullen also returned to the team this year to provide some more veteran depth. That leaves the Penguins with very few question marks on paper.
Asked if there were any question marks, Sullivan said, “I don't know if there is one. I believe we've got a core group that is a battle-tested group that has shown their ability to win in a high-stakes environment.”
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He added, “Our biggest challenge is in making sure that we push one another each and every day, so that we can become the team that we know we're capable of becoming at the most important time of year.”
For the first time, Sullivan will not have his father with him on the journey. His father died over the summer, but is embedded in Sullivan’s mind and heart. He told Channel 11, "It'll be tough at certain times. One of the greatest thrills that I've had in my lifetime is to be able to share the two Stanley Cup runs with him. And we had so much fun, and there will be times that I'll certainly miss his conversations, but in some way I know that he'll still be part of it.”
Cox Media Group