The following is basically what Letang had to say in the interview including some additional information:
After the first two wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, the players still felt that they needed to manage the puck better. It’s been reported that they had a players-only meeting about it upon their return to Pittsburgh yet Letang said that it wasn’t much better against the Leafs. The Leafs played fast and have a lot of skill and the Penguins still didn’t manage the puck the right way. They complicated things by playing through the neutral zone.
Even against Philadelphia and New York, they got fancy and didn’t stick to the game plan; and it was the same thing for the home-opener when they should’ve been pumped up to play. The right mindset just wasn’t there. The penalties were also a big downfall. Evgeni Malkin had to stay on the bench for about eight minutes without playing with as many penalties as they had.
Many people had also wondered if the pre-game ceremony may have been too long, but Letang pointed out that both the Flyers and Rangers also had their own pre-game ceremonies and it didn’t make a difference then; it comes back to the fact that the team’s mindset wasn’t there. They ended up having bad turnovers in neutral zones.
By mindset Letang explained that the Penguins felt that, with the Leafs not making the playoffs in prior years, it was going to be an easier game to play and win when it was actually the opposite and Toronto is typically tougher because they’re hard to defend. It all comes back to the team’s mindset.
Letang said the team is going to learn from the mistakes made playing against Toronto and that Winnipeg is a good place to play. They have a good team with three good lines.
To end the interview Letang said that to be successful the Penguins can’t take penalties and must keep top lines like Neal and Malkin on the ice because while they kill penalties, the two sit on the bench for long time and they’re not warm or ready to go for their first shift which makes it tough. They have to stay disciplined.
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.