Eric Tangradi could, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review believes, be angry at the Penguins’ coaching staff for removing him from Evgeni Malkin’s line after only 25 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time in three games.
He also could be angry with a portion of the Penguins’ fan base that pointedly denounces him daily on various social media outlets.
Instead, Tangradi has retained his ever-present smile and blames only himself for a slow start. He has been demoted to the fourth line for Friday’s game in Winnipeg, as playing alongside Malkin clearly is something a player must earn.
“I’m not mad at anyone,” Tangradi said. “I’m not frustrated, really. If I get back to playing my game and playing the right way, (playing with Malkin) might be an opportunity that arises in the future. I need to be better. I know that.”
For now, winger Tyler Kennedy will play on the second line with Malkin and James Neal. Tangradi worked on the fourth line during Thursday’s practice with Joe Vitale and Craig Adams.
Neal believes Tangradi is on the verge of becoming a good NHL player.
“It’s not always easy being a young guy and coming into the league,” Neal said. “You might see hesitation in certain things that he does, and sometimes nerves can affect you. But I think he looks more comfortable than he did.”