by Tony on 02/08/14 at 11:37 AM ET
All NHL teams get injuries. Hell, all teams get injuries.
But the injuries that have befallen this season's Pittsburgh Penguins, what could already have been described as bizarre, is now getting ridiculous.
This with the truly shocking news that highly touted offensive defenseman Kris Letang has suffered a mild stroke and is out of the lineup for a miniimum of six weeks while being on blood thinners. Sources have already told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi that the Pens aren't counting on Letang returning this season, and if he indeed does return, they'll treat that as a bonus.
Even before Letang's condition was announced, the Penguins had lost 343 mangames this season, blowing away Anaheim's runner-up status by a whopping 80 games.
It started even before the season started, when the Pens lost Tomas Vokoun to a potentially fatal blood clot.
It just spiraled downhill from there, with significant injuries:
- James Neal with upper-body
- Letang with knee
- Rob Scuderi with broken ankle
- Beau Bennett with wrist surgery
- Tanner Glass with broken hand
- Paul Martin with broken tibia
- Andrew Ebbett with broken ankle
- Brooks Oprik with concussion (Thornton incident)
- Letang with infected elbow
- Pascal Dupuis with torn ACL
And those are just the major injuries.
But now we get word that Letang, who had been mysteriously out of the lineup while not appearing sick, fueling wild trade rumors, actually had a stroke.
A stroke? A frickin' stroke? To Letang? That workout freak?
I refuse to get into the medical minutia like some of my colleagues have done already (irresponsbily, IMO), but apparently Letang has a small hole in his heart (like all of us do when born) that didn't close, and that attributed to the stroke. That's all I'll say about it.
But the fact that this team not only continues to play well, but is only two points away from the top record in the NHL at 40-15-3 is pretty incredible. Yes, having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin healthy basically all season is a big part of the equation. But having half of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on your roster and still flying through the league on auto-pilot was a pretty remarkable feat.
So now that it looks like the Pens might be without Letang, that throws a serious wrench into GM Ray Shero's plans. While GMRS will benefit from Letang's salary going on LTIR, it's not a slam dunk that he's going to be out for the year, so that's going to make things even trickier as we get closer to the Trade Deadline. But more on that as we get closer and after the Olympics.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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