It’s no secret that T-bone and the Hockey Doggz are fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Moonpie is the most outspoken of the bunch, but T-bone and Huskey are also big fans. It pains me to say this (as someone who doesn’t argue with the facts I have to) but as of right now, they’re toast.
Remember the beginning of the 2011-2012 season when only Sidney Crosby was injured, and he seemed to be getting better? Jordan Staal was looking good, Evgeni Malkin was flying around the ice, and with last season’s addition of James Neal, the Pen’s looked like they would be back to their 2008-2009 form when they won the Stanley Cup. Oh those were some good times. I remember watching the Stars@Penguins game (this was when the Stars weren’t weren’t sucking) on Veteran’s Day and thinking to myself, “Once Crosby’s back, they’ll be unstoppable.” Marc-Andre Fleury gave up an early goal, but the Pens held the stars to just 20 total shots, Neal scored two, and Matt Cooke got the final tally. They looked great then, and continued to work through injuries until Crosby came back on November 21st.
The Kid scored 12 points in 8 games, then was placed back on the injured reserve and hasn’t played since December 5th. Things were still looking ok up until about a week ago when the New York Rangers came to Pittsburgh. After that game, Staal was out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, Neal had a broken foot and would be out indefinitely (turned out to be just a bruised foot, but he’s probably not playing to 100%) and the Pens were on a three game skid. A week later they are 0-6 in as many tries, their first 6 game losing streak since Crosby’s rookie year.
It seems like all of their top players are injured and are out or have been injured already this season. Brooks Orpik (abdominal surgery), Kris Letang (concussion), Ben Lovejoy (broken wrist), Zbynek Michalek (broken finger, concussion), Simone Despres (knee), Jordan Staal (knee), Evgeni Malkin (knee), Dustin Jeffery (ACL), and of course Sidney Crosby (concussion) have all missed time this year. I look at that list and I think, “What the fuck?!”.
It’s plain and simple, unless the Penguins get guys like Staal and Letang back soon they won’t earn a spot in the playoffs. Neal, Malkin, and Fleury are good, real good, but they can’t 6-handedly support the entire team. The rest of the team was brought there to be complimentary players to guys like Malkin, Staal, and Crosby, but when those guys are out,they’re just a bunch of third line dudes who struggle to score. I sincerely hope that these injuries go away and that all the Pens come back and play better than they did before they were injured and they make it into the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup and that I win a million dollars and I suddenly gain the power to move things with my mind, but it probably won’t happen.