Brian Burke on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Sullivan



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Brian Burke on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Sullivan

In NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Sitting Down with ..." the guest was Brian Burke, who is the Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations. There were many topics in the conversation, and one of them was Pittsburgh's poor performance in the Stanley Cup Playoff series.

He gave the reasons for that. "Part of it, to be fair, is the quality of our opponent has gone up and you should never talk about losing a playoff series without giving credit to the teams that beat you. I think in the two cases that I've been here, in my belief, we played well enough to win both those series.

First one was against the New York Islanders and goalie Tristan Jarry had a tough time. Last year we just hit pothole after pothole. Crosby got hurt, Rakell got hurt, (defenseman) Brian Dumoulin got hurt. We're playing with our No.

3 goalie (Louis Domingue). We just hit too many potholes and I think we could have won both series. We're excited about this season because we don't view the last two years as abject failures. We believe we could have and should have won both those playoff series."

- he said, as quoted by NHL.com

DeSmith's

Jarry and Casey DeSmith will be of great importance. Burke was saying how much he believed in them. "Tristan had a tough playoff against the Islanders two years ago, but we didn't even look for a goalie.

Hextall called him in and said, 'Look, a lot of guys struggle a little bit their first playoffs, but we believe in you.' He didn't get a chance to play in the playoffs last season because of his injury, but we believe in both goalies."

He is surprised by the fact that Mike Sullivan has not yet won the Jack Adams Award voted as the NHL coach of the year. "The problem when you talk about a coach of the year, or those type awards, when you say 'Well, our guy should have won,' people take that as disrespectful.

And I don't mean it disrespectfully. This is not a commentary on other coaches who have won coach of the year, but I don't know anyone who's done more in seven seasons he's been here, who has done a better job coaching, than Mike Sullivan.

I think he's been terrific, and I love working with him. And to answer your question, it's a riddle ... it's a mystery to me." NHL reporters asked him; Are the Colorado Avalanche still the team to beat as the defending Stanley Cup champions? "I think that's always true.

I think until a team has been beaten, they're the favorite and they should be the champion. Colorado did it in a convincing style too. That's a great team with a great GM, great coach, great players, so until someone beats them, they're the team to beat."