I work in the medical field, which is very convenient for my hobby as well, because all I do is look up injuries. Let's get started with the medical report first.
No surgery date is set for Pascal Dupuis yet. According to Dan Bylsma, who himself must be halfway to an MD by now, there needs to be healing in a part of the knee before they can consider surgery.
James Neal is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. If you're wondering what day-to-day means in today's NHL dictionary, it could be anything short of an amputation. He hasn't been ruled out for today's game (yet). The Pens have 5 days off following the Caps game, so I'm guessing he won't play because why risk it?
Joe Vitale has been placed on the IR with an upper-body (wrist) injury. Nick Drazenovic has been called up from WBS. Brian Gibbons, he of the budding breakout season, has been placed on IR with a lower-body injury. Pens have re-called Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, with a whopping 1g, 1a, 137 pim on the season so far. What is this guy going to contribute, exactly?
So, what with more than half the team out, Despres and Engelland practiced at forward on the fourth line. Sutter skated with Crosby. Taylor Pyatt skated with Malkin. Beyond comical, things are just sad now.
To cheer us up, our buddy Alex Ovechkin and the Caps are coming to town. Orpik and Scuderi apparently plan to shut him down. Welp. Here's the Caps scouting report. Also, make sure to check out a preview at Japer's Rink, SBN's Caps blog.
Just like Patrick Kane is the best and most recognizable American hockey player and Sidney Crosby is the face of hockey in Canada, Alex Ovechkin is the face of hockey in Russia. Facing criticism of Russia from many sides, the greatest goal-scorer of our time is focused on representing his country the best way he can. He won't be the captain of the Russian team though - the inimitable Pavel Datsyuk has been chosen for the honor.
While this is a legit rivalry (given it's Wednesday and all), will the Pens and the Caps play an epic playoff series like the one in 2009 any time soon?
It will also be a battle of the NHL's top two power-play units. Which PP is better: Pens' or Caps'? Also, Caps have allowed 5 shorties, Pens 1 thus far in the season.
Part III of the Pittsburgh Magazine mega-roundtable: trade targets for the Penguins. There are some stellar ideas there, like Olli Maatta for Blake Wheeler. Only if whoever is Winnipeg's GM is totally clueless.
Speaking of clueless GMs, Joe Nieuwendyk (who earlier declined the Calgary GM job) is still Brian Burke's favorite for the position. If that happens, folks, look for Shero to trade him Despres for Hudler and Cammalleri. I'd be all for that.
Just for laughs, here is Geno with Chippo the clown. The way things are going, I hope he asked him if he can skate and get into game shape quickly. Might need a new linemate. Geno best.
James Neal just stepped on the ice for morning skate. He's missed the last two days of practice.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 15, 2014