The Penguins Next Man Up – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The Penguins Next Man Up

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.

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  1. The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
    December 30, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Finally!!! The Penguins announced that they are bringing up Daniel Sprong. For the Penguins, for Sprong himself, and for my ego (having whined for all these months) good luck Sprong!!

  2. Pens8771's Gravatar Pens8771
    December 29, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Just finished watching the Pens lose to Carolina, this really sucks seeing them struggle so bad to score goals when the last 2 years they was scoring goals at will! I can’t help now but to think JR needs to make a move NOW or just start setting the team up to have a good year next year cause they are e falling deeper and deeper in the standings, soon will be under philly! But either way stop talking about trades and just do it or make it known that you’re gonna ride out the year with what you got!

  3. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    December 29, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Hey all,

    Not that I’m in any way, shape or form happy to have guys hurt, but I’d kind of like to see Andrey Pedan and Garrett Wilson in action, just to see what they’ve got. I’m especially curious about Pedan, who, at least based on scouting reports, has all the tools.

    My guess is, he and Wilson will serve as extras while Simon and Corrado play.

    Addressing Other Rick’s reference to Zaripov, he’s had an amazing career in the KHL. He’s been especially productive in the playoffs. Wonder why he’s never played in the NHL…

    At age 36, it would seem a bit of a gamble to sign him now.

    Speaking of skilled Russians, does anybody know what happened with Vadim Shipachyov? Vegas made a big deal about bringing him over. However, after just three games they cut ties with him. He’s “Back in the USSR” and scoring at better than a point-per-game clip.


    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      December 29, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Hey Rick,

      Like you I am curious to see what Pedan and Wilson can bring.
      Part of me can’t help but wonder how the Pens “D” would look with Cole, Pedan, and Oleksiak, spread out through the pairings adding a physical edge to each pairing.

      In Wilson’s case, I do like his size and gritty style but wonder how he will fit on a team that built its success on speed.

      My Zaripov’s reference wasn’t really made out of wishful thinking, more like a pot shot at the return to fossil hunting by the team, evoked by my disappointment in the team to tap Sprong for a call-up. Despite their 4 goal output against a decimated CBJ line-up the Pens have continually had troubles scoring goals but obstinately ignore their best scoring prospect, almost akin to the Captain of the Titanic ordering full-speed ahead even after receiving the reports of icebergs looming in front of him.

      Okay, maybe I am over-reacting, but seriously, every loss makes any defense of not bringing Sprong up less and less tenable.

  4. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    December 28, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Trade Letang as soon as he’s healthy and back on the ice – You can’t pay
    the type of money there paying Letang to play half a season. Every year
    the Pen’s hang onto him only reduces his trade value.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      December 29, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Hey Mike,

      I agree with your sentiments 100%, but I fear that ship may have sailed. Had the Penguins jumped on the opportunity to trade him earlier, say late Nov or at least by mid Dec, they may have been able to work a deal. Letang’s stock may have reached a peak where they could have unloaded him. Unfortunately the team buried its head in the sand of sentimentality. JR was too lachrymose, not strong enough to make tough decisions, I would have to look up his quote, but he said something to the effect that it would be hard to trade players that he owed so much too.

      Now, with this latest injury, in his never ending string of injuries, I am not sure Letang will be tradable, depending on the type of injury and length of time he is out. At some point, the team may need to consider buying out the contract to get Cap space for players that can contribute.

      Too bad Danis Zaripov had his ban reduced to 6 months, he is back playing in the KHL. If Letang would be out long enough, the team ma have been able to find room to sign the Russian winger, since they seem so reluctant to actually bring up their own, home grown scoring winger to breath life into their stagnant offense.


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