When you saw Jordan Staal leave the ice, it was evident that his knee injury was significant but there was no time table given. But then we hear about James Neal and his broken foot. Bottom line, Staal will be out 4-6 weeks and Neal will be out what is being called “weeks”.
I have never seen a team get this decimated from injuries in my life. I have been following the Penguins for 30 years now, and I have never seen them in the position they are currently…well since Last year. Prior to these past couple of years, I have not seen this before.
As mentioned, Staal will be out for at least 4 weeks, and Neal will be out for at least a few weeks. Craig Adams also tweeked an older injury and he was not on the ice this morning for practice. Asham was back skating this morning but will not be playing tomorrow. With all of the injuries, the Pens have called up Eric Tangradi from Wilkes Barre. I must admit though, they have pulled so many players from Wilkes Barre at this point I am not sure the answers are there anymore. This team has been playing pretty poorly for a little bit of stretch, and they need to get things turned around quickly.
That will require Malkin to step up even more, and players like Kunitz and Dupuis and not to mention Tyler Kennedy who has showed signs of coming out of the funk he was in. It’s these players that need to stand up and make plays to generate offense. They are lacking offense in a big way right now. The Pens will also need stellar play from Fleury, and almost as importantly will be the improvement of this defense. Martin is back and playing better and I think Niskanen needs to step up his game also. The craziest thing about this team right now, is the fact that even with all of these losses(players), they are staying in games, but they are making critical errors at critical times.
Look for the Pens to bring up a player or 2 more from Wilkes Barre to further cover the losses on this team. Something else to look for as the weeks continue to pass. We are not near the trade deadline yet, but because of all of the players on the injury list, and the fact that they are not sure when Sid is coming back, look for GM Ray Shero to start pulling the trigger on a move or 2. Currently, the Pens will be under the cap because of the injuries in the neighborhood of $25 million and will have about half that much to spend I would imagine for the run if Sid does not come back and even more if Letang does not come back either. Crosby is becoming less likely as time goes by.