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Open thread reminder - Pens at the halfway mark

I figured with the new year officially under way and the Penguins season nearly half over, it'd be a fitting time to try an open thread.  

So with that in mind, would anyone be interested in contributing to my first one?  It takes, honestly, like 2 seconds to make a username on the site.  All it asks for is a Username and E-mail address (kept private from spammers.)  From there all you have to do is log-in.  It keeps you logged in till you choose to log out or want to access the site from another computer.

Let me know if you guys would be interested.  The offer is open to Maple Leafs fans as well.

Moving on...

We're practically at the halfway mark of the Pens' season and things aren't exactly how they started.


Mark Recchi
After 19 games for 8 points, the Penguins said goodbye to the long-time Penguin.  Recchi spent three separate times with the Pens before being demoted to the WBS Pens minor league squad.  Before he could even suit up for a game with them, the Atlanta Thrashers claimed the vet to fill a much needed leadership role.  He's since scored 10 points in 11 games.

Gary Roberts
Most likely out for the season, although I've yet to read any official word on the matter.  Roberts broke his fibula in the game versus Buffalo on December 29th when his leg was caught under a defender and snapped under the pressure of his own weight.  Despite what must have been excruciating pain, Roberts waived off the stretcher and allowed his teammates to help him to the dressing room.  Ironically the season ending injury came on the night the Penguins awarded Roberts with a trophy for achieving the 900 points mark.

Mark Eaton
Out for the season with an ACL tear.  Eaton chose to have the surgery that would take him off the roster for the season over the alternate method of physical therapy.  His shot blocking abilities and penalty killing skills will be sorely missed.


Marc-Andre Fleury
Took some shots in practice the other day for the first time since injuring his ankle against Calgary back on December 6th.  The high ankle sprain was treated with much sensitivity, especially for a goaltender.  At the time of injury trainers suspected he'd be out 6-8 weeks, but with the rate of his recovery it's looking more like 5-7.  He's expected back in the lineup by the end of January, first week of February at the latest.

Max Tablot
Really fired out of the gate this season, only to have a high ankle sprain sideline him for 4-6 weeks as well.  Similar to MAF, Talbot sustained his injury in the game against Calgary.  He was able to contribute a goal in that venture before limping into the dressing room at the end of the game.  Between being run into the boards earlier in the season, taking a stick off the face and spraining his ankle, Mad Max Talbot has my vote for Warrior of the Year on the Penguins squad.  He should be back by the end of January at the latest.


Tyler Kennedy
Tyler Kennedy was one of those guys being juggled around on the lines when Therrien was deciding the eminent fate of Recchi.  He has really gelled well with the Roberts/Staal line, although that is now looking more like the Laraque/Ruutu line.  Regardless, Kennedy has contributed 6 goals and 10 points in 26 games.  He really goes out there every night and looks to make an impact.  He's also become the purveyor of the no-look spin-around shot.

Jeff Taffe
Newest member to the Pens, Taffe scored a goal in his fourth game with the team against the Caps on December 27.  Similar to Kennedy's first few games, Taffe seems to just be warming up to the NHL setting.  His production should come soon enough with the more ice time he earns through sheer grit and determination.

Ty Conklin
Not necessarily a newcomer so to speak, but certainly an impactor.  Since Fleury's slip a month ago and Sabourin's quasi-efficient relief job, Conklin got the promotion from the WBS team and has since gone 5-0, including two shootout wins, in his short time with the Pens.  The real question is - will he remain when MAF comes back?

Fleury is up for contract negotiations at the end of this season.  Where does his injury and Conklin's superior play leave him?  What about Dany Sabourin?  Perhaps there will be other notable changes in the roster by the end of January.  As for now, the Pens are the winners of four straight, looking to make it five tomorrow night against Toronto.  As far as I'm concerned, don't change a thing.