Ladies and gentleman, let’s call a spade a spade. The Pittsburgh Penguins called up Tom Sestito in time for their Wednesday game against the Winnipeg Jets because they felt their team needed more muscle. Here’s why:
The Penguins did have the right idea beefing up their lineup. The Penguins asked Sestito to be prepared to fight, which he did and that’s okay because fighting is still a part of the game. The Pens did not ask him to hurt anybody, he did that on his own.
The February 16th match-up between these two teams had many ugly physical happenings which had everyone leery of retribution leading into their rematch. Evgeni Malkin, for his part, stepped up to the plate and fought Blake Wheeler right after the face-off only 3:30 into the game.
The sentiment that the Malkin/Wheeler fight should have been the end of the entire kerfuffle between the two teams is wrong because really this just settled matters between these two players. Remember there is still the matter that Dustin Byfuglien knocked Justin Schultz out of the Pittsburgh lineup for 3 games after a hit from behind into the boards AND Olli Maata is still out of the lineup after this hit from Adam Lowry:
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) February 17, 2021
That’s why folks who are angry or upset with the fact that Sestito and Jets tough guy Chris Thorburn fought the first faceoff after the Malkin/Wheeler fight need to direct their anger at the right person. The person to be angry at is not Sestito but Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. By putting Sestito on the ice, you knew Jets coach Paul Maurice was going to use his home-ice last change to put on Thorburn. This is not Shakespeare folks, this is NHL coaches orchestrating a fight.
So why call up Sestito and not put in him a situation to fight? Well, there once was a time (not so long ago) when NHL teams would save a spot on their 4th line for a player who was okay defensively but ready and willing to throw the big hit or drop the gloves for their team. The adjective “goon” is used on examples of these players people do not like. The adjective “energy guy” is used on examples of these players who people do like. The word “goon” is used much more than “energy guy” when it comes to Sestito but here is a positive video of him from last night’s game.
The +1 he earned on the Malkin goal, which tied the game at two, was on his second shift of the game (the first being his fight with Thornburn). Unfortunately, Sestito’s 3rd shift would be his final shift of the game (and some people hope career).
You cannot blame the Penguins for this act of stupidity by Sestito. Yes earlier it was argued that it was Coach Sullivan’s fault that Sestito was in a staged fight but the coach is cleared of all wrong doing in this situation. The coach put his 4th liner on the ice to create energy is where this story should have ended. This was a right move by the Penguins done wrong by the player they chose.