Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/21/09 at 04:46 PM ET
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
And just like that, the picture changed for a pair of Eastern Conference contenders Wednesday with the news the Pittsburgh Penguins had lost their top minute man and the Boston Bruins their top offensive weapon.
But just how badly will the injuries to Pens defenseman Sergei Gonchar (broken wrist) and Bruins center Marc Savard (broken foot), both out four to six weeks, affect each club?
Let’s start with the Penguins. After all, they are the Stanley Cup champions.
Yes, we all know how badly they missed Gonchar last season when the All-Star blueliner missed the first 56 games of the season. They were basically a .500 team and on the playoff bubble. He later returned and the Penguins went on a tear all the way to the Promised Land.
I’m not discounting what the 35-year-old defenseman brings to this team. He’s their best defenseman, their top puck-mover, the key to their transition game, their best defensive shut-down guy, and, of course, their power-play quarterback. But I believe Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski are better equipped to handle some of that load than they were when Gonchar went down in September 2008.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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