Originally written on The PensNation  |  Last updated 4/25/15
By: Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82) Trust In Maatta If there was any doubt left about the maturity of Olli Maatta the Olympic Games should have dispelled them.  As one of only five Finnish defensemen in the NHL, it was a safe bet that Maatta would have to shoulder his fair share of the defensive responsibility in Sochi.  The 19 year old came through with three goals and two assists while playing in the defense-friendly Finnish system.  That Maatta was able to manage three goals in a low-scoring tournament shows that he doesn’t feel the need to defer to more veteran teammates.  This will be a valuable trait for Maatta as he fills the void left by Kris Letang.  Ray Shero made a big gamble on Maatta when he chose not to send him back to juniors at the beginning of the season.  Now is the time for Maatta to pay back Shero for that trust. Olympic Hangover and Rust The Penguins had seven players representing their respective countries in Sochi, so there will be a good mix of rested and non-rested players when the Penguins pick up play tonight.  For a guy like James Neal, who had only three goals in his last 10 games going into the break, the time off probably helped him clear his head of whatever was contributing his mini-slump.  For guys like Rob Scuderi and Taylor Pyatt, it was a time to heal from injury as the team gets ready to embark on the last quarter of the season before the playoffs start. For guys who did go to Sochi, it will be about picking up where they left off.  Evgeni Malkin had 11 points in his last 10 games.  Sidney Crosby had 10 points in 10 games.  Jussi Jokinen had 8 points in 10 games.  These guys will be carrying the Penguins down the stretch and it’s up to them to continue scoring.  For Chris Kunitz, Crosby, Jokinen, and Maatta, they will have the motivation of adding a Stanley Cup to their Olympic success. Coaches Have to Coach For Dan Bylsma and Tony Granato, getting past the difficult defeat to Canada and the embarrassing loss to Finland is the key priority.  Whatever happened against Finland, whether it was players not caring about bronze after losing out on gold or just getting outplayed by Finland, Bylsma and Granato have to worry about coaching the games ahead, not re-coaching the games in the past.  The Penguins come out of the break with 83 points, third-most in the league, and have a five point gap between themselves and the second-place Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference.  The Metropolitan Division is still weak with only two other teams, the Rangers and the Hurricanes, having a winning record in their last 10 games.  Things are looking up for the Penguins if they can just remain focused and get past this latest rash of injuries.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jon Jones wanted for questioning in hit and run

Pitcher throws perfect game with 23 strikeouts, still loses

Will LaMarcus Aldridge leave the Portland Trailblazers?

Wizards sweep listless Raptors

Clippers defeat Spurs, even series at 2-2

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

JR Smith 'nervous as hell' about possible suspension

Dana White: No more WWE for Ronda Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk for 'bush league' play

Report: Eli Manning not concerned about contract

Several teams interested in Bucs' No. 1 overall pick?

Report: Marcus Smart overslept, could get less playing time

WATCH: Former NBA’er Darko Milicic is enjoying life

WATCH: Alex Gordon leaps into stands for incredible catch

WATCH: JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder in face

WATCH: Kevin Love leaves Game 4 with shoulder injury

Joe Flacco content with current Ravens receivers

WATCH: Demetrious Johnson wins with last-second submission

WATCH: Jerryd Bayless beats Bulls with buzzer-beater

John Legend catches Belichick checking out Chrissy Teigen

Jim Rice to Jim Palmer: 'Quit complaining'

Time Warner-Comcast failed merger hurts Dodgers fans

WATCH: Bucks mascot devours fan

Protestors tried to have Orioles-Red Sox game called off

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Darko Milicic is enjoying life

Pitcher throws perfect game, still loses

Will Aldridge leave the Blazers?

Alex Gordon leaps into stands for catch

Dana White: No more WWE for Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk

JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder

Report: Wainwright likely done for year

UAB player brings helmet to graduation

Leah Still scores in Temple spring game

Sanchez shares thoughts on Tebow

Stephen A. Smith blasts Tom Brady

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.