An off-day update, dear readers.
First, though, a well-wish to my dad. He underwent double knee-replacement surgery Monday, which is why Josh Yohe was in lovely downtown Newark for the Penguins’ win at The Devil. Watched a DVR of it this AM. Hardly impressive, given the cap-strapped Devils lineup, but two points after two home losses to open the season will do for the Penguins.
=I’m trying to track down information on D ZBYNEK MICHALEK, who appeared to injure his shoulder during the win. Josh has more on that later in this post. Already without C JORDAN STAAL(right foot) for at least the next several weeks, the Penguins must be hoping Michalek’s injury isn’t too serious. Surgery for a separation could sideline him months. Remember, D SERGEI GONCHARdidn’t play until Feb. 14, 2009, when he was injured with a separated shoulder that required surgery in the preseason opener in 2008. No injury is the same, but losing Michalek for an extending period of time, with Staal already out, would severly limit the team’s PK proficiency.
= Something to keep an eye with Staal out is C SIDNEY CROSBY’s PK time. He’s at 56 seconds per game right now, only 3 seconds more than last season. He shouldn’t go much higher, at least if what I’ve always been told — that PK minutes are the most exhausting in hockey, and toughest to recover from — is true. Crosby is without a goal in three games and one with one point. He has missed eight shots already. His avg. TOI is up 46 seconds from last season. I don’t know if any of these numbers are related, but I’m starting to wonder.
By the way, I’d be very surprised if Crosby doesn’t show strong Wednesday night against Toronto. Same with RW EVGENI MALKIN and G MARC-ANDRE FLEURY. For Crosby and Malkin a day off will do them good. The Penguins hadn’t had one since before the final weekend of camp. For Fleury, well, he was a lot better in those two losses then that bad goal in final minutes against Montreal suggested. He’s fine, folks.
= OK, so just brilliant work by Mike Colligan of thehockeywriters.com in breaking down the CBA and how it applies to last week’s baffling roster moves involving LW ERIC TANGRADI and G PATRICK KILLEEN. I’m equally envious of Colligan’s insight and stunned by how few people involved in this sport, including yours truly, really understand the CBA. Clearly from reading this, Penguins AstGM JASON BOTTERILL is at the top of his profession in understanding the cap. Anyway, the article can be found here: http://thehockeywriters.com/eric-tangradi-what-happened/
Side note on the cap: Why isn’t the NHLPA raging against the machine with what went on with The Devil dressing only nine forwards because New Jesrey is so close to the cap? I understand there was an emergency designation for that situation, but with two years before the CBA is to expire, I can’t imagine how the NHLPA is pleased with what happened with The Devil. Sure, they weren’t the first franchise to dress fewer than 20 players, but this situation seemed like one over which a players association should take issue.
= Word from some Philadelphia colleagues is that the Flyers will ask the Penguins to play at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Pens play the night before at home, so I’m not sure it is in their best interest to oblige. The Flyers want to avoid playing at the same time the Phillies are set to host the Giants in an NLCS game. All the Philadelphia stadiums are in the same complex, so traffic flow is a concern. Also, though, it’s a nice gesture for the fans not to potentially avoid choosing between games.
That’s all from me, now for some notes from Josh from Newark…
= Michalek clearly sustained a shoulder injury in the second period against the Devils and did not return. Members of the Devils TV broadcast team spotted Michalek with ice on his shoulder following the second intermission. He appeared in a great deal of pain when departing the ice. Penguins coach DAN BYLSMA said Michalek and BROOKS ORPIK, who missed the game with a groin injury, would be evaluated in Pittsburgh Wednesday.
= Don’t believe the attendance figure of 12,880 released by New Jersey officials for Monday’s game against the Penguins. The building might have been half full. Incidentally, there were thousands of empty seats about an hour to the east in Long Island, where the Islanders defeated the Rangers, 6-4, in another holiday matinee.
= D PAUL MARTIN is a serious, quiet guy, but he let out a smile when discussing his empty net goal late in the third period. C/RW CRAIG ADAMS, you see, was about as wide open as a player can be in front of the open cage. Adams, of course, didn’t score a goal during the regular season and probably wouldn’t have minded receiving a pass. Both players had a good laugh about the situation after the game.
Adams said he didn’t really expect Martin to pass in that situation. Martin, of course, played the first seven seasons of his career in New Jersey and was booed throughout the contest. He attempted to produce a couple of excuses as to why he didn’t pass, but then admitted, “It did feel pretty good.”
= LW PASCAL DUPUIS wore what resembled a bullet proof vest while working out after the game. It presumably wasn’t anything like that, but he did give an amusing reply. “We are in Jersey, you know,” he said with a grin.
And this, friends, is why Rob Rossi avoids covering games in Newark, which is only a few miles from the cultural center of the universe, and yet so far away.
(Still working on a witty sign-off…until next time.)
Good one, Josh.