Just back from a quick tour of the Continent, Adam files on his troubled birds, who are hampered by a seemingly unending list of injuries. He was at Tuesday’s game against the Hawks and filed this shortly before puck drop.
Fresh from some Irish-inspired drunken insanity: I haven’t written much about the Penguins lately due to what has been a relatively busy schedule. In some ways, that’s been something of a blessing since each Penguins game has been like another game of Russian Roulette, just waiting to see which player was going to injured next.
It all started the night I went to see the Bruins take on the Penguins. I was, of course, excited because any opportunity to attend a game is much appreciated, but I couldn’t shake that terrible feeling of once again bringing crap luck to the team.
I think the closest game there I might have ever seen was a 2-1 loss in overtime to the Devils for the 2008 home opener (and, as you can imagine, a 2-1 game against the Devils was truly thrilling. At least Šatan scored.).
We sure did lose, but maybe I lucked out in seeing Crosby before he went down yet again. Of course.
Since then, the injury train has just kept picking up new passengers:
In addition to the already-sidelined Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek, Robert Bortuzzo (whom we called up to replace one of those two, by the way), all inactive due to concussions, Richard Park, Ben Lovejoy, Dustin Jeffrey, and Brian Strait (another call-up to replace a starting defenseman), we’ve seen no-namers like Jordan Staal, Craig Adams, and Paul Martin also miss time due to injuries.
For those of you busy saying I’m whining, that’s 11 players. Remember how, earlier in the year, I asked you to just bear with me while I bitched about our injury luck? This time I’m just kind of resigned to this insanity.
I’m sorry, but…Crosby, Staal, Letang, Michalek, Martin? All missing the same game, at least once? Jason Williams shooting from the point on the top power play unit that Pascal Dupuis centers? Some dude named Carl Sneep on defense? Uh, sure, buddy. For taking guys of this calibre out of the lineup, the Penguins are admittedly hanging in there the best they can.
I’m frankly not sure many other teams in the league could put together the kinds of efforts the Penguins have with such a depleted lineup. We saw it happen last year for long stretches; we’re seeing it again now. Girl, I’m over it. I’m glad Dan Bylsma is a great coach whose players buy into his system and play hard and find ways to win, but can we please have a healthy lineup for more than, you know, a week? Merci, obrigado, gracias, and dakujem.
In any case, I’d like to personally thank Evgeni Malkin for being a terrifying player to face on the ice and sneaking his way to a few points back in the league-wide scoring race. There are times when, as I see him chug up the ice, I feel myself inching out of my seat and holding my breath just because you never know what’s going to happen. And with him feeling it as he is now (see: hat trick against Buffalo), with him shooting confidently, with him putting the team once again on his back, I beg the Lord to spare him from injury. He’s already been a “game-time decision” far too many times.
For Christmas, I’d like James Neal to continue potting power-play goals. I’d like to see Michalek and Letang back in the lineup and concussion symptom-free.
I’d like Sidney Crosby to be back for more than a moment. I’d like Steve Sullivan to shoot the puck more often, which he seems inclined to do when he’s not playing with Malkin and Neal.
I’d like Tyler Kennedy to earn his raise, ’cause I’m still not feelin’ that pig-nosed mess. I’d like to attend a home game and, you know, actually win the damn thing. It’s a long list, but I’m just not a fan of anything short.
Except maybe security lines at the airport. I’m attending the game against Chicago. Pretty crappy opponent to play when you’re used to losing, but I could be surprised. [Ed. Note: Congrats on the 3-2 win Adam, you brought them good luck!].
Winnipeg, Carolina, Philly, and New Jersey round out 2011 for my birds. And we’re unfortunately ending it the same way we began, wondering when we’d be healthy again.
Postscript: You guuuuuuuuuys, I just don’t even know. I need to take the ice again Wednesday and feel better about hockey. Maybe I can put a few in the back of the net and at least feel happy about my own game.”
Root for Adam on Wednesday and follow him in twitter: @adamkno