Sunday, October 30, 2011

Penguins Now Without Staal

It's almost uncanny how many injuries the Pittsburgh Penguins have suffered over the past few seasons and they just continue to roll on with them. This wasn't necessarily the case with Jordan Staal, as he was an afternoon scratch from the team's game against the Maple Leafs, a game they lost, because of a lower-body injury. Most reports are saying that the injury is considered minor and Staal is said to be day-to-day, but an actual timetable is not yet known for the injury and it has created a new cloud to hang over the team.

By the way the CBC had worded it on Hockey Night in Canada, Staal is out indefinitely, but the team hopes that he'll return soon, which suggests he'll miss at least one more game, but their next game isn't until Thursday, so there is plenty of time to recover, if the injury is indeed minor.

Staal has had a pretty good start to the season, playing either as the number one or the number two centre in his first 12 games of the season, scoring 6 goals and adding 3 assists, but it is his two-way game that earns him the greatest deal of respect, as he is such a solid player, especially in his own zone and the faceoff circle.  The absence of Staal in the Penguins line-up was evident against the Leafs, as the depth struggled to keep up with the speed of the opposition.

ImplicationsIn the draft, Staal belongs to Wes M., who hasn't gotten off to the best of starts in the regular season, going into Sunday's action in 20th spot, 9 points up on 21st.  Wes is only 2 points back of 16th, so there is a small group that he is jockeying with and with two skater games to be played, he could find himself in a little better shape when the weekly numbers are tallied.

Staal is Wes' best forward to this point in the regular season, which is a group mired in injuries to start the season.  If Staal only misses one more game, then the overall impact of this injury remains minor, but if it stretches any further, Wes will have to rely on his goaltending, which is among the best in the pool early on in the season.

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