Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/31/13 at 02:24 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
One NHL coach told ESPN.com this week that he felt that the Penguins, and Crosby in particular, had been "hardened" by recent playoff losses and that their play this spring has reflected that.
"Sid has been really gritty, good to see," the coach said. "He is a great player, but he used to cheat to score. Now he doesn't.
"He stops on pucks, plays better defensively. Losing the last three years has hardened that team."
Crosby doesn't disagree that the Penguins' disappointments since 2009 have altered the team in some fundamental way.
"Hopefully we learned from it," he said. "Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I think when you have those expectations and there's certain things that happen, you have to be able to learn from them and you can't accept that that's OK and you can't say, 'Oh, that was just a weird series last year against Philadelphia.'
"You have to find out why and what needs to be better, and I think we were all pretty honest with how we evaluated that and what we needed to improve. The bottom line is that you've got to give yourself a chance to win. I don't think we did that in those previous series. Even if you give yourself a chance, there's no guarantees, [but] you've got to at least do that."
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