Sep 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun (92) looks for the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pens Already Hurting; Vokoun Out Long, Neal Hurt


The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t even started a game yet and they’re already suffering from a number of injuries — specifically some of their top players.

It was unclear as to how long goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be sidelined, but now Sam Kasan of the Pittsburgh Penguins official team website is reporting that the veteran netminder will be out for the next three-to-six months.

A blow the Pens couldn’t afford with Marc-Andre Fleury’s recent struggles in net.

Vokoun’s prognosis is certainly a huge loss for Pittsburgh, but he’s not the only one thats hurting.  Norris finalist Kris Letang, whose had bad luck with injuries in the past year, was placed on injured reserve, September 30th.

What is being described as a lower-body injury, Pittsburgh fans know that Letang had a nagging groin problem last season, and although the team isn’t revealing his exact ailment, one would speculate he’s run into the same issue again.

Letang is expected to be out till at least October 8th and prospect defenseman Olli Maatta is going to take his spot on the roster for now.

Matt D’Agostini, who was signed this past offseason, was yet another casualty.  Unlike Letang, D’Agostini was reportedly placed on long-term injured reserve, but the duration of his absence is unknown.

And now, drum roll please, forward James Neal is hurt.

Neal was reportedly a no-show for Pittsburgh’s morning skate Thursday, and he’s down with another one of his peculiar upper-body injuries.  Forward Joe Vitale took his place on the second-line, which is an interesting move considering Beau Bennett was a strong candidate to fill that role.

Neal is listed as day-to-day, however, when it comes to the organization’s evaluation towards one of their talents, it’s hard to speculate how severe the ailment is exactly.

As of right now Neal’s status for Thursday’s home opener against the New Jersey Devils is questionable, and with the news breaking that he missed the morning skate, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was listed as doubtful later today.

The Pens just can’t seem to stay healthy.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they’ll have their two-headed monster in for tonight’s contest — Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — and the rest of their team is ready to go as well.

Thursday’s game can be seen on the ROOT network, and is set to start at 7 p.m.


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