02-15-2007, 08:20 AM
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Re: Pens Tidbits
Originally Posted by X-Terminator
Penguins Notebook: Olczyk talks about first visit back to Mellon Arena
Thursday, February 15, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
With a delayed flight in and another out right after the game last night, former Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk only spent a matter of hours in Pittsburgh and at Mellon Arena, but it was an emotional chunk of time.
"It is hard," said Olczyk, who was fired as the Penguins' coach in December 2005 and returned to do color for the Chicago Blackhawks television broadcast. "It's the first time I've been in here. It will be 14 months exactly [today] since I cleaned out my office."
Not that he's keeping track or anything.
An hour or so before he went on the air, Olczyk talked passionately about his time as coach, which started with the 2003-04 season, and, before that, as a Penguins broadcaster and player.
Olczyk said he and former general manager Craig Patrick were thwarted last season by decisions made by Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer, including a reluctance to keep Marc-Andre Fleury on the roster because the young goaltender became eligible to earn $3 million in bonuses if he played in at least 25 games.
"After the lockout, the organization's plans changed," Olczyk said. "We aborted some things. There's no quick fixes. I'm not surprised [at the Penguins' success this season]. I think Craig and I had a lot of the same visions and a lot of the same ideas, but, unfortunately, I don't believe Ken was on the same page when it came to dispersing of funds.
"That's the hand that's dealt. There's no question I think about it -- what could I have done differently? -- and I take full responsibility. I walked out the same way I walked in, and that was with my head up high and with respect for Mario [Lemieux] and the game. People on the inside know what was going on. Unfortunately, it didn't happen as quickly last year as people would have liked, and the coach is the one to take the blame."
I loved Edzo, but it was obvious from early on that he just wasn't tough enough to get the job done and didn't want to give the players that kick in the rear that they needed.
As for the Fleury situation, all I can say here is WOW.