Apr 8, 2011

Case Study: PR Lesson on How to be the Pittsburgh Penguins Comm. Dept.

Pittsburgh Penguins PR department have had their hands full.
Here's a look at the roller coaster of events that they have dealt with in the last few months and how they have handled them.
I call this section: PR 101

Evgeni Malkin out with season ending surgery.
How the PR Team did: B-
What is more than a nightmare for the team became irrelevant as the Penguins clinched fourth spot. There was internal knowledge of the state of Malkin's knee, so an explanation to the public was relatively simple and they delivered a good message: "It's bad. He's done for the season."

Sergei Gonchar, top defenseman, traded.
How the PR Team did: A
Dealing with the explanation of trades are actually relatively easy for the PR team. They often stick the spokesperson at the helm with some media training (or not) and let them answer the tough questions. It's the coaches/GMs career on the line; and no one else. In this case: "Gonchar is old and expensive".

Captain Canada aka Sidney Crosby suffered two consecutive vicious hits in early January and was concussed.
How the PR Team did: C-
Plans to return any day, now...but the PR team has said that for over a month now. It's time to be clear - is he playing in the playoffs or not? Their response: "We're not taking risks".

Lastly, the Penguins had to deal with GM (Super) Mario Lemieux's comments about head shots and dirty play from specific players in the league (to remain unnamed) seems quite satirical considering this...

Matt Cooke - A goon amongst gentlemen

How the PR Team did: A+
He has been suspended for his sixth time in 800 games, this time, for the remainder of the season (14-plus-games). Cooke has only 300 points but managed to rack up just under 1000 PIMers in his career (988), more than one minute per game.
Complete knucklehead - but despite this, he has a great PR team around him. He publicly admitted he has to change his game and what he is doing is inappropriate conduct.

Good work PR team! Next, keep Matt Cooke out of the papers after his next stunt (which will happen) and you're communications department will remain the best kept secret in the NHL.

I guess winning a Stanley Cup pays the bills for the future - what happens next year?!

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