I think it's safe to say that whatever injury Sergei Gonchar is playing through isn't just a sprain or bruise. Despite not having a game since May 13 and taking off three consecutive days of practice, head coach Dan Bylsma has hinted that the time off isn't exactly improving things much:
"We're not even to game day yet. Let me just say it's a game-day decision."
Gonchar is expected to continue resting up before tomorrow night's Game One. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise if he misses the morning skate.
Perhaps as a way of having some healthy reserves on hand, Ray Shero made a call to the farm for five healthy players. Dustin Jeffrey, Christopher Minard and Jeff Taffe; defenseman Ben Lovejoy; and goaltender John Curry all made the trip to Pittsburgh. Although Gonchar is obviously hindered by an injury heading into this series, I don't think these call ups will effect much in terms of the roster. Taffe obviously has some NHL experience and may be considered a potential replacement for the slumping Pascal Dupuis.
To me that's really the only one that makes any sense, unless Shero really feels Jeffrey and Minard could fit into the third or fourth line, Lovejoy is a better reserve than Goligoski and Curry should dress as Fleury's backup - all of which seem highly unlikely. Somehow I don't see this as more than just a conditioning and/or experience assignment for the WB/S squad.