Add two more names to the rapidly increasing injury pile that the Pittsburgh Penguins are dealing with:
Coach Sullivan says Hainsey is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 17, 2017
Coach Sullivan: "Geno will not be available for tonight. He has been dealing with an upper-body injury for a while. We will know more soon."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 17, 2017
Here's the complete list, since it can be tough to keep up:
The following players are out for a while:
- Hainsey, who's "week-to-week" designation is NHL injury speak for not great news. Playoffs start in less than 4 weeks
- Carl Hagelin - has been out since 3/10, officially out 4-6 weeks with what is believed to something broken in the foot/ankle. Unknown if he will be available for Game 1 of the playoffs but his regular season almost certainly is over
- Trevor Daley, who underwent knee surgery on 2/22 and has been placed on long-term injury reserve. Due to salary cap complications, the Penguins will not be able to take Daley off LTIR and put him back on the roster until the regular season ends. It remains unknown even if Daley would be healthy and game-ready for Game 1, but his estimate of a six week recovery at time of injury places him close to the start of the playoffs.
The following players skated before practice:
- Kris Letang (upper body) out since 2/21, "upper body injury", unknown time table for return. Today marked first time back on the ice in weeks. GM Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Sullivan sounded somewhat upbeat in their vague updates on Letang yesterday, but it remains unclear when he will be back. He skated today lightly and just in a warmup suit, he's nowhere close to a return it appears.
- Olli Maatta surgery for broken hand on 2/16. As you can tell in the video below he doesn't do much with his left hand on the stick, was said to be out 6 weeks from surgery, putting his return sometime in early April. Seems like he should be ready right around the start of the playoffs.
- Bryan Rust - undisclosed injury on 2/9, believed to be a hand/wrist/arm injury. Has had a couple of skating sessions, no known time for a return to the game, the Pens were sending some messages of worry that he might not be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs. He's in full pads though so maybe there's enough time to heal and keep working up for it? Stay tuned.
Rust, Letang and Maatta on the ice at PPG Paints Arena pic.twitter.com/qzKKu9dLlB— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) March 17, 2017
Then you've got some lingering issues of possible less seriousness:
- Malkin, out tonight, unknown. Has had some wrist taping happening a lot recently. Sullivan mentioned he's been dealing with this a while but it would be impossible to know from his play with 6 goals and 3 assists in the last 7 games. Hopefully this is something minor or nagging enough to miss a limited amount of time, but with the way this season is going, who the hell knows, right?
- Scott Wilson didn't skate this morning due to "maintenance" (NHL injury speak for a minor injury) but is expected to play tonight per Sullivan
- Tom Sestito - is no longer suspended and available to play if needed. Yay?
In somewhat better news:
- Patric Hornqvist (out since a concussion on 3/5) worked with the first power play at today's skate. He's officially a game-time decision but declared himself pretty much in for tonight's game
- Mark Streit seems to be more or less OK after going to the hospital earlier in the week during a game. He played last game against Philly and is expected to play again tonight
- Matt Cullen returned from the injured list last game and is seemingly over his lower-body injury
That's 11 regular players either injured or hurting at the moment, and at a really bad time of year for that. Pittsburgh is 3 points behind Washington for 1st place in the division and league, with the Pens also holding a game-in-hand. Passing the Caps, earning home ice in the playoffs and avoiding the 2/3 playoff matchup (while forcing Washington TO play that series) could be a major key to the post-season.
The schedule doesn't get any lighter with six games in the next ten days ahead for the Pens. If there's any consolation, all six teams to play are outside of the playoffs right now (though NYI is right there fighting to get in) so at least the schedule while hectic, isn't exactly a murderer's row of top competition.
However, at this point, Pittsburgh's decimated lineup just has to find a way to stick together and make it through a game or two unscathed and without adding any names to the list.