Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ode to Depth

Lost in it all the Avery brouhaha was a Game 3 that stretched the Pens to the nearly insurmountable 3 games to 0 lead.

The biggest Penguin news is probably the perceived injury to Max Talbot; we’re not doctors but he’s not wearing a walking boot if it’s not broken from blocking a shot. Talbot, although a 4th line center, is a very important player for the Pens; he’s a valuable penalty-killer (the only forward on the team with more PK time is Jordan Staal) and Talbot plays the uptempo, high-energy hustling game that seems to pay off.

But the Pens have been pretty lucky since Sidney Crosby’s return from injury they’ve been pretty injury free. Gary Roberts groin was tweaked but he seemingly could have played last night but didn’t due to coaches decision. Inserting a battle tested warrior like Roberts into the lineup is certainly no drawback, it’s probably an advantage. Adam Hall, who filled in well for Roberts, can slide over to play center on that line with Georges Laraque.

The Pens PK should be OK too. Guys like Staal, Pascal Dupuis, Ryan Malone and Hall are the usual killers and players like Jarkko Ruutu, Marian Hossa and even Evgeni Malkin and Crosby could play well in that position too, if the Pens allow them the chance.

So the Pens forward depth can pickup the banner for Talbot. How long will he be hurt? Well usually with a break there’s swelling and if you can’t get a foot in a skate then it’s obviously impossible to play….But in a week or so, if it’s not a weight bearing bone, then perhaps Talbot could be back for next series….Assuming the seemingly inevitable of a quick Pens series win and a lengthy Philly/Montreal series plays out. But, of course, playoff assumptions are perhaps the worst kind so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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