Penguins’ Jim Rutherford openly challenges coach Mike Johnston


Penguins GM Jim Rutherford openly challenged his head coach Mike Johnston regarding playing time for Daniel Sprong.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is clearly unhappy with the fact that 18-year-old forward Daniel Sprong has been a healthy scratch for the past eight games.

According to a report by DK Pittsburgh Sports(subscription required), Rutherford has been trying to get head coach Mike Johnston to start the phenomenal young forward so the team can “get a look at him.” Rutherford also followed up by saying that he never makes orders regarding playing time, but that he and Johnston were on different pages.

“I have been urging the coach to get him in there,” Rutherford told Josh Yohe of DK Pittsburgh Sports. “We need him in there so we can get a better look at him.”

Rutherford also expressed his displeasure with the up-and-down campaign so far.

“Well, we’re going to have to do something to change things up,” he said. “We have underachieved. We’ve definitely underachieved. We’re in a position where we shouldn’t be right now, and we know it. I am going to have to take a look at few things. Something needs to change.”

Rutherford has a point. The Penguins are one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL scoring just 2.31 points per game. Sprong also played just 5 minutes in his last appearance on Nov. 17.

This seems to be a situation similar to that of Johnny Manziel in Cleveland. Whether it’s Johnston’s coaching or the play of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the other forwards, this team is just not generating offense as consistently as they need to.

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Sometimes you just need to see what you have in a young player.