Going into tomorrow night’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks, The Pen’s may get Staal and Michalek back. But that still leaves 6 players that normally start that are not currently in the line up. And did I mention they are getting healthier?
During this morning’s skate, Bylsma gave an injury update, that was unfortunately rather lengthy. It went something like this. Staal, Adams, and Michalek are all cleared to skate, but are still listed as day to day. Lovejoy was finally cleared and was out on the ice for the first time in a while. Their are currently no updates on Bortuzzo, Crosby, Letang, Martin, and Park. Those injuries consist of 3 concussions, a lower leg and a broken foot respectively. The Injury Report is from the Pen’s Report.
As for the rest of the team, Malkin is on a real tear right now, and it could not have come at a better time. Malkin’s tear has earned him the NHL’s 3rd Star for the Week. Neal is also continuing his hot play as he is among league leaders in goals scored. The pairing of Neal and Malkin has proved to be quite a duo, and an impressive first line. And with Crosby on the shelf, Staal would normally serve as a great 2nd line center fill in. Actually, a hell of a fill in. He is as good as any second line center on most teams and as good as some first line centers. That being said, it becomes a problem when he is also not in the lineup either.
Going into tomorrow nights game, Chicago is off to a strong start this season, leading the Central division with 46 points. Lead by Hossa, Sharp, Toews and Kane, this team is playing as well as any in Hockey. The Hawks also have the benefit of not suffering through the injury bug right now. They have 2 players right now that are traveling to Pittsburgh but will not be in the lineup in Daniel Carcillo, and Brent Seabrook. Both with undisclosed upper body injuries.
The Blackhawks also have 2 good net-minders in Ray Emery and Corey Crawford. Both of which are sporting a Goals against average in the 2.5 to 3.0 range which in this day and age of the NHL, is very good. In the last 10 games, Chicago is 8-1 and 1. This will be a tall order for this injury plagued Penguin team, even at home, to handle.