Our Pittsburgh Penguins may have won the battle against the Columbus Blue Jackets with their shoot-out win, but the cost may be losing the war. In the aftermath of that battle, it appears that the Penguins lost Matt Murray (day-to-day), Chad Ruhwedel (IR), and spark plug Bryan Rust (IR). These 3-Penguins join Kris Letang, who missed the Columbus game and later was placed on IR and Justin Schultz who was already on IR.
Even if John Tortorella wasn’t such a whiner, I doubt that he is having any sympathy considering his team is trying to fight through injuries to Cam Atkinson (Foot), Brandon Dubinsky (Face), Ryan Murray (Upper Body), Alexander Wennberg (Undisclosed), and Zach Werenski (Undisclosed) and all with long term injuries. In fact, in the NHL, I doubt we will find any teams willing to shed a tear for our Penguins. Up until now, they have been relatively free from the injury bug. Anaheim, Boston, and Vegas all have significantly higher man-games-lost than the Penguins, who have been hanging roughly in the middle third of the league on this stat.
For many seasons our Penguins have been at or near the top of this list, even when winning the Stanley Cup, they have suffered. I hate to say this, but perhaps this level of adversity is what the team has needed to come back together as a team. The “Next Man Up” mantra has been a mainstay for pretty much the length of coach Mike Sullivan’s tenure.
Perhaps the loss of Rust my be the most important of the losses. Along with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, he has been bringing it consistently all season. No matter where Sullivan has asked him to play, the young dynamo has given the team 100%. His CORSI numbers are a +105 or 55.7%, best on the team. Rust also tops the team in minor penalties drawn at 19.
I did read somewhere that it is possible Schultz may be back by January 2, against Philadelphia.
In the meantime, the Penguins have recalled Casey DeSmith, Andrey Pedan, and Garrett Wilson. DeSmith has appeared in a couple relief roles for the Penguins this season. Wilson has appeared in 34 NHL regular season games for Florida but has only appeared in preseason games for the Penguins. He currently has 6 goals, 8 assists, 54 penalty minutes and is a +1 for Wilkes-Barre Scranton (WBS). Pedan has played 13 NHL regular season games for Vancouver but none for the Penguins, regular season or preseason. He came to the club in the trade involving Derrick Pouliot at the beginning of the year. He has 2 goals, 8 assists, 39 penalty minutes and is a +5 in WBS this season.
Odds and Sods
Filip Gustavsson, the Penguins Goaltender and 2 round pick from 2016 is playing for team Sweden in the World Junior Championships right now. He has played 2 games and has given up 2 goals on 34 shots. With a 1.00 goals against average and a 0.941 save percentage Gustavsson is having a good tournament.