The early part of the season has been pretty tough on the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve started their season off 1-3 and after losing a tough one to the Maple Leafs last night, the day after brings about an update on the injury status of defenseman Zbynek Michalek.
Coach Dan Bylsma updated the status of Michalek saying he would miss the next 2-4 weeks with an “upper body injury.” To read through the very non-descriptive manner of his injury, it’s apparently a shoulder ailment for the former Coyotes blue liner. The Pens defense is already dealing with the wonky groin of Brooks Orpik as that’s kept him out of the lineup of late. In their stead, virtual no-namers like Derek Engelland, Ben Lovejoy and Andrew Hutchinson are getting the call to help steady the Pens in the meantime.
The lack of solid defense for the Pens is also showing its effects on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury whose stats have taken an early season plunge into the dumpster. Fleury is 0-3-0 with a .853 save percentage and a goals against average of 3.41. It’s obviously early and those numbers are awful, but inconsistent and very young defense in front of him aren’t helping matters. If you think this makes for a good time to panic in Pittsburgh… Relax, things will get better. No one’s season is in trouble after four games.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.