OK, well not everyone, but it sometimes sure feels like it. The Penguins announced today that neither Evgeni Malkin (hurt in yesterday’s pre-game warmup) nor Pascal Dupuis (injured in the game against the Sharks last night) will be traveling with the team to Boston for tomorrow night’s game. Both are said to be “day-to-day” with the dreaded “lower body injury” without much more information than that, so make of it what you will, but we know for sure that both will be out for this game.
If you’re a fatal optimist, you could say that at least this has happened at a relatively friendly time in the schedule. After tomorrow night’s game in Beantown, the Pens only have one game in the next five days- a Monday night home matchup against the struggling Blue Jackets- before the schedule picks up on December 13. That starts a stretch of seven games in 11 days to take the team up to the brief Christmas break from 12/24 – 12/26. Ideally Malkin and Dupuis could be back by next Friday for when that heavy stretch of the schedule begins.
Another more serious injury was also announced, forward Andrew Ebbett suffered a broken ankle, has been placed on IR and will be out for quite some time. Ebbett has played five NHL games with the Pens this season (recording one assist) and was playing fairly decently as a 3rd line winger, but he’ll be on the shelf for the time being.
To make up for the recent injuries of Dupuis and Ebbett, the team announced that they’ve recalled Harry Z from Wilkes-Barre. Zach Sill was a healthy scratch last night, so if they play him tomorrow against Boston, the team will be back to 12 forwards. Or, they could always elect to dress Robert Bortuzzo as a 7th defenseman.
Regardless of how that decision shakes out, Pittsburgh will be down 2 top-six forwards and 2 top-four defensemen (with Paul Martin and Rob Scuderi still out) as they go to Boston to meet the Bruins with 1st place in the Eastern Conference on the line. On paper the odds are stacked against them, but that was also the case last night without Malkin going up against a San Jose team that was on a six game winning streak and we saw what happened there.