The Penguins just cannot avoid injury problems this season.
Pittsburgh was already set to be without Sidney Crosby tonight along with Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek and now they’ll be without Jordan Staal. The Pens ruled Staal out of tonight’s game with a lower body injury meaning that Pittsburgh will try to beat the Islanders with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal leading the offense. Jason Williams will do his part to try and replace Staal’s production.
Making matters more difficult, Richard Park is also on injured reserve as well. It just never gets any easier.
The Penguins’ injury woes are startling this season and while they’ve had far too much experience with them, having another season of them is just brutal. Injuries are unavoidable during the season but at this point coach Dan Bylsma has to be doing his best Roberto Duran impression and saying, “no mas.”
The Penguins will never say “no” to a player capable of playing the wing and potentially able to score goals. After all, such is life when you have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and a desperate need to surround them with guys capable of handling their passes to help score more goals.
The Pens did some work in that department already by bringing in former Nashville standout Steve Sullivan and now they’re hoping they can catch some lightning in a bottle by signing former Red Wing and Stars forward Jason Williams to a one-year, two-way contract. Should Williams stick with the Penguins, the contract will pay him $600,000.
Last year with Dallas, Williams had two goals and three assists in 27 games with the Stars. In the past as a Red Wing and a Blackhawk, he was used as a power play helper with a decent shot. Now on the other side of 30 years-old, Williams will be strictly a depth help guy with solid NHL experience.
With some of the minor league losses the Penguins have seen this summer (Tim Wallace to the Islanders, Chris Conner to Detroit for example) getting Williams into the mix at Wilkes Barre-Scranton makes a world of sense. If the Pens are somehow stricken by the same injury problems they had last season, calling on a guy like Williams will at least help for a bit as younger guys like Dustin Jeffrey and Mark Letestu should have full-time jobs in Pittsburgh next season.