Just days after making that blockbuster trade that sent offensive defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal and Matt Niskanen, the Pittsburgh Penguins might feel obligated to look into the trade market for a blueliner. That’s because the Penguins will be without the death stare of hard-hitting defenseman Brooks Orpik for about four weeks, according to Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Orpik broke his hand while blocking a shot during last night’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
Adding another defenseman isn’t mandatory for the Penguins by any means, but it will be difficult to plug the hole left by the rugged defenseman. Orpik is the team leader in hits with 177 and averaged a career high 20:52 minutes per game so far this season.
This big blow comes at a tough time, as the team is about to begin a five-game road trip.
On the bright side, Anderson reports that a handful of injured Penguins could return for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Forwards Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey are probable, but the most important potential return might come in the form of $5 million defenseman Paul Martin.
It’s time to start putting Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom in bubble wrap. During tonight’s 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus the Red Wings not only lost Jimmy Howard during the game due to a bruised knee but now they’ll be without Tomas Holmstrom for an indefinite amount of time after breaking his hand during the game.
The soon-to-be 38 year-old Holmstrom has had a quiet year with 11 goals and 11 assists but with injuries to Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, and Mike Modano up front getting Holmstrom’s net presence and goal-scoring touch in the lineup was necessary to the Wings offense. Now, it’ll be up to Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler to increase their offensive output and for role players like Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader to do a bit more than what they’re normally asked.
For Detroit, they’ve been through a brutal stretch like this with injuries before. Last season, the Wings spent most of the season playing without a full lineup only to finally get everyone healthy in late February and early March. The Wings stormed back to life to go from teetering on the brink of missing the playoffs to the fifth seed overall in the West. The Wings are currently in first place in the Central Division and second in the Western Conference. They’ll get their mettle tested once again with this host of injuries up front as well as with injuries to Brad Stuart and Chris Osgood.
It’s a good thing that the Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping to win their 12th consecutive game and Sidney Crosby is setting the hockey world on fire right now, because if they were struggling, one background story would be getting awfully old.
That storyline is the seemingly unending Jordan Staal injury situation.
It began back in last season’s playoffs, when he rushed back from foot surgery and ultimately endangered the first month of the 2010-11 season. Just when it seemed like Staal was ready to get back to the Penguins, he broke his hand in a random accident in practice.
Still, that was in early November and sound the broken record: Staal is reportedly facing another setback as rumors are circulating that he “re-broke” his hand.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won’t know for sure until Monday, but it looks as though Jordan Staal has suffered a setback in his return from a broken hand.
Internet reports cropped up on Thursday that Staal may have re-broken the bone in his hand but Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma denied that on Friday saying there was some “calcification” issues.
“Jordan continues to progress in the timeline we had before,” Bylsma told Pittsburgh’s Tribune Review on Friday. “He’ll keep rehabbing on his current course.”
Now, however, it’s apparently possible Staal has re-broken the bone in the hand, or suffered some type of setback, although definitive word on that and the prognosis/timeline won’t come down until Monday.
With that, we’ll keep you updated on the latest “prognosis/timeline” when news surfaces next week. At this point, it almost seems like the Penguins will be lucky to get a month to integrate Staal into their lineup before the playoffs begin …