Staal, Neal out for extended periods

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More bad injury news for the Pittsburgh Penguins. According to coach Dan Bylsma, Jordan Staal is out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury and James Neal has a broken foot that will keep him out “weeks, not days.”

The Penguins are already without Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang, each with concussions and no timetables set for returns.

Pittsburgh’s also lost four straight and finds itself just one point clear of ninth-place Winnipeg in the Eastern Conference.

Is it time to discuss the possibility of the Penguins missing the playoffs? At this point you’d have to classify that as unlikely, but you can’t dismiss it entirely. To do so would be unfair to Crosby, Letang, Staal and Neal. Not many teams could lose those four for extended periods and keep winning.

Of course, another potential scenario has the Pens squeaking into the playoffs, getting healthy and handing a top seed in the East a “you gotta be kidding me” first-round matchup.