Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach John Hynes blew his whistle and brought Thursday's practice to an immediate halt.
After a few seconds of silence, Hynes looked at his players and reminded them what went wrong in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to Albany. They didn't generate scoring chances, he said, and the offense overall was no where to be found.
Then Hynes gave his players a very stern reminder of why they had better perform better during tonight's home game against Binghamton. If they want to reach the NHL one day, the effort had better improve, Hynes said.
The lesson hit home after his players filed off the practice ice at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Wednesday's loss was the third in a row for the Penguins, who are looking to regain the form that allowed them to post a 13-3 record after beginning the season 0-4.
Veteran Trevor Smith said today's team is totally different than the one that dropped four in a row at the season's start. That was a team searching for an identity, learning the system and trying to mesh together.
Now, more than 20 games into the season, there's a different reason behind the Penguins current losing streak.
Now it comes down to individually what we're going to put forth for our effort in each game, Smith said. It's coming down to looking in the mirror and preparing yourself for games.
Each loss in the current streak is different, Hynes said, but the fix is the same. The 5-4 overtime loss to Hershey last Friday was the result of compete issues, he said. Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to Portland was due to mental mistakes and failing to protect the lead.
Wednesday's defeat to Albany was a combination of all of the above.
Our game has some holes that we need to fix, Hynes said. We worked our way out of (a losing streak) early in the year, and that's what we have to do now. The lessons may be different, but the process has to be the same. We have to identify, we have to fix and then we have to become better.
Smith added another reason for the loss to Albany.
Pretty simple, they outworked us, he said. We knew it afterward and it was an ugly game. That's not the way we want to be playing.
Still, the Penguins aren't entering tonight's game with the motive of erasing the losing skid. Hynes said they're more concerned with playing a good game and executing. A win or loss is out of their control, Hynes said, but the effort that is put forth is completely in their hands.
We're approaching it like any other game with an emphasis to play the style that we know we can play, he said. We have to execute and we need to learn to put teams away.