Greetings, dear readers – from somewhere over, North Carolina, I’m guessing.
A quick blog update, with an acknowledgment I’ve been slacking on the blog lately. (Not like there’s been anything going on, right?)
= Touched base before leaving Pittsburgh with a few folks close with C Evgeni Malkin. They report he continues to progress. One phrase nobody used was “feeling fine,” which is one of the ways HC Dan Bylsma described Malkin on Sunday night after confirming that Malkin was dealing with a concussion.
Still, those close to Malkin did say he is feeling better on Monday. That is the important development, and it seems, in spirit, consistent with what the club has reported in terms of his progress.
Malkin has been placed on the injured-reserve list. He would not be eligible to play until this weekend.
He is not on at least the first leg of this three-game road trip with the Penguins.
This is the second concussion of Malkin’s career. He was also concussed in 2004, before the Penguins drafted him second overall that year.
Josh Yohe will have an interesting story in Tuesday’s Trib. In it, C Sidney Crosby shares some concussion thoughts in the wake of Malkin’s injury.
If anybody would be an expert witness on the topic, Crosby would be that guy.
= The Penguins have signed D Mark Eaton: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3550993-74/eaton-defenseman-penguins
No roster move is necessary because Malkin is on the IR.
The signing of Eaton seemed inevitable since the Penguins signed him to a tryout contract.
As for what this ultimately means for the defense corps – well, the Penguins are now back to eight defensemen on the active roster.
Bylsma and GM Ray Shero are on-record as saying that is not idea.
Of the eight defensemen, only rookie Simon Despres can be re-assigned to the AHL without having to clear waivers.
= Tuesday is the anniversary of a pretty big day in franchise history.
In case the Malkin developments over the weekend kept all of your attention, a look at the blowout from Sunday on the Marian Hossa trade: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3508756-74/penguins-hossa-shero#axzz2LwpKdXRf
My favorite part of the reporting on that story was chatting with Crosby about his former linemate. At one point, Crosby waxed nostalgic about the 2008 Cup Final.
He talked of watching those games during the lockout on the NHL Network, and being surprised at how close the series was; keep in mind, the Penguins played four straight one-goal games to close that series against the been there/done that Red Wings.
“When I look back to ’08, I always think mentally it was a learning curve, but when I look back at those (Cup Final) games, we weren’t that far off. It was a bounce here and a bounce there.”
He is not wrong.
Neither was Shero to trade for Hossa, who in the short- and long-term shaped the Penguins more than any players over the last eight years perhaps other than Crosby and Malkin.