Ask any hockey expert what makes the Pittsburgh Penguins a dangerous time and you’ll elicit a universal response: depth.
With the second month of the season in full swing, that depth is sinking.
In the offseason, it was announced that Maxime Talbot would be sidelined for the first few months of the season.
Since then, Talbot has confirmed he won’t be ready until around mid-December.
No injury news is good news, but with respect to Talbot’s injury, the sentiment was that it would be manageable.
However, all of a sudden, as the Penguins prepare to take on the San Jose Sharks, they are without defenseman Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy and, most recently, Alex Goligoski, too.
“Uh oh!” is right.
Indeed, there’s still a great amount of talent on the roster, even with the injuries.
Such will be the case when you have a Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury , among others,on your team.
But if you’re a knowledgeable sports fan you understand that “on paper” is beyond trivial.
The game is played on the ice. And on the ice, talent is lacking.
With the absence of Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy on offense, players like Chris Conner and Chris Bourque get an opportunity to showcase their talents.
Other players get bumped up to more prominent roles, as well.
But while some good could come out of that, the reality is that third and fourth line players belong on third and fourth lines.
Maybe now and again a role player could jumpstart a top-six line.
But when that becomes a need, much less a regular one, your team is no longer a threat.
Right now the Penguins are in good shape. But they’re facing a stretch of games against talented teams.
Anyone familiar with Penguins Hockey knows the word adversity, and it’s staring the team in the face right now.
This next little while will say a lot about the 2009-10 Pittsburgh Penguins.