Friday, January 16, 2009

M*A*S*H Unit

The PG reports the residual damage, and it's not pretty. 20% of players that pulled on a uniform last game aren't able to go due to injury (that's four players for you non math whizzes). Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi and Maxime Talbot, all out with various non-disclosed upper (Scuderi, Talbot) or lower (Crosby, Letang) body injuries.

Add them to Pascal Dupuis (leg/groin injury), faceoff king Mike Zigomanis (shoulder?), Ruslan "Ivan Drago" Fedotenko (hand) and Sergei Gonchar (shoulder) and that's 8 players (or 44% of the non-goalie lineup) that would be out there, if healthy.

Earlier this week the Columbus newspaper blog Puck Rakers compiled a list of man-games lost to injury. Pittsburgh came in fifth on the list for quantity and would have to rank higher than that for quality of players missed. As an example, Philadelphia had 213 missed man games to injury but that includes the entire seasons for human pylons Mike Rathje and Derian Hatcher, two players stashed away on long-term injured reserve that the Flyers are not exactly missing.

Regardless, there's still a game to play with the players that are left. The seven minute man, Janne Pesonen, is back in town...Will Therrien be forced to give him a chance to sink or swim? At this point, why the hell not. It's not like any other winger is showing any offensive prowess (save Petr Sykora of course). Pittsburgh's Own Bill Thomas is back in the show as well. Thomas only has 14 points in 33 AHL games, unusual for a guy who scored 52 points in 75 AHL games last season. We think that they have been using him in more of a checking role and he probably is going to have to switch his game around in order to make it work at the highest level. It'll be interesting to see if he could have anything to offer.

Something we've been thinking about
--If you want to fire the coach, what are you going to do better? Here's how we'd line 'em up tonight:


Eaton-Boucher (shudder)

Yeah this is asking a lot of a guy like Pesonen to go from riding the buses in the minors to playing with the NHL’s point scoring leader, but Pesonen was a point scoring leader in his league last year, it’s not like he doesn’t have skill. Obviously if it’s clear Pesonen is out of place an adjustment to move someone else up (like Tyler Kennedy or Miroslav Satan) could be made.

For that very reason, it's time to end the Satan banishment to the lower lines. Sure he's been largely invisible in recent weeks and worthy of demotion. But on a night like tonight where so much firepower is out of the lineup, it's not a time for that. He's got to get more ice and he's got to make something happen with it.

And how much confidence do you have knowing that every member of the bottom four defensemen has been healthy scratches for multiple recent games. Hope the Whitney/Orpik combo is ready for big minutes, they’re surely going get them in all situations.

1 comment:

JP said...

Heh. Cooke must read my blog for inspiration...