Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is it possible to win something on the same day you find out Rob Scuderi has a broken ankle? Pens 3, Canes 1

By GTOG Staff (follow Finesse and Artistry on Twitter)

The Pens announced last night that Rob Scuderi is out indefinitely with a broken ankle that will require surgery.  Don't bother Googling the standard recovery time from broken ankles unless you want to read a lot of blogs from high school soccer players about their recoveries, but suffice it to say this isn't good.  Scuderi had been noticeable for being unnoticeable which is all you can ask for.  There were times this season when we forgot he was even on the team. It's difficult to overreact when your 34-year-old defenseman -- who you just signed to 4 year, $13.5 million contract in large part because you figured, hey, he may be 34 but the guy NEVER gets injured, he's just a rock back there -- snaps his ankle in two.


He'll be missed most for something we never got a chance to see -- the effect he would have on Kris Letang.  Scuds cannot -- literally, he cannot -- be baited into any sort of run-and-gun style.  He may make the occasional mistake, but they are usually due to God-given limitations, not because the opponent is in his head or because nothing is in his head.  He is, for better and worse, the polar opposite of Letang.  It would have been nice to see if some of his steadiness could have rubbed off on the ol' 58er.

His absence, and presumed trip to long term injured reserve, means two things: occasional available ice time on the blue line for one of the AHLers and cap space.  If Scuderi can make it back before the playoffs, both of these things may be good things.  We have to assume for the time being that Bobby B and Deryk Engelland will split time as the 6th defenseman, but whatever leftover time remains, here's hoping it goes to Dumoulin and/or Despres.  As Olli Maatta is proving, you don't have to endure Wilkes-Barre for years before you are ready for the NHL.  Both Dumoulin and Despres are as ready as they'll ever be for legitimate shots at sticking with the big club.  Bylsma has to find some time for them, but it's up to them to seize it.

A few thoughts on last night...

- Not only are the Pens 6th best in goals against per game, but they're also 3rd best in shots against per game (25.5) and third in shot differential (+7.2).  Last year the Pens gave up 29.2 shots per game in the regular season and 32.7 per game in the playoffs.  The best way to prevent another Fleury implosion?  Don't make him do anything.

- There was some discussion last night between Steigerwald & Errey that players back in the day were hazed by shaving their pumpkin.  Your guess is as good as ours.

- We said a few days ago that Malkin doesn't need any help.  Malkin might need some help.  He's putting in a lot of minutes with a lot of guys who really aren't anywhere close to his level.  Putting an $8.7 million player out there with league-minimum wingers guarantees you aren't getting your $8.7M worth.

- Is James Neal ever coming back?  Is James Neal still alive?

10 comments:

  1. I heard Neal was ready to come back but then a slight breeze happened and he re-injured himself

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  2. I don't think Scud's injury is as dire as you make it sound. Word's going around that this is actually preferable to the high-ankle sprain that they thought it was, since those linger. Provided that there are not complications with the surgery, bone takes 6-8 weeks to heal - and apparently the surgery makes it quicker. Breaks have clear time frames. They'll be rehab, obviously, but I don't think it's out of the question that we could see him in Jan some time, ready for the stretch run. It sucks, but isn't dire. And as you said - it gives the youngins playing time - and bigger minutes to learn. Long term, they need that. Now if we lose another top-4 guy....

    Also- it's commonplace to bash the PP - which has indeed been awful. But can we acknowledge that the PK has been equally bad? Like really, really, horrible. Like a full third of the 29 g/a the Pens have allowed this year. What happened to our aggressive PK? The one that was always top 5? We've decided it's better to give up goals on 15% more PKs than get burned here and there? Sorry - but J.Staal should not make that much difference, and we're on year 2 of this precipitous decline.

    (Just tangentially - pumpkin=head. Nothing too weird. :) )

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    1. Agree on the PK.

      Also -- the whole "broken ankle is better than a sprained ankle" thing is one of my favorite all time conventional wisdoms in sports.

      Funny how much one injury to a top 6 defenseman has dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for a Niskanen trade, especially given how well he's playing.

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  3. is megna a one game wonder or is there real talent there? i found myself thinking that he couldn't sustain that level of effort for 82 games.

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    1. I think he does have talent, but he's very slight. It's hard to see how he'll survive along the boards, as he's not Nathan Gerbe-quick. He does go right to the net though, and I certainly don't see a reason to take him out of the lineup right now in favor of one of our myriad 4th liners.

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  4. I never thought I would see Nathan Gerbe used as an adjective. I think its about time to put Kunitz on the 2nd line to balance the top 2 lines until Neal and/or BoBo return. I am sick of them trotting garbage out there to play with Malkin. Kielbasa didn't even have a contract at training camp (how was this guy a 1st rounder) and Juicy J, was picked up off the scrap heap last year. Of course, King Crosby will not permit the aforementioned line balancing, so I guess it's a pointless debate.

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    1. As we've discussed, we have no idea whether Crosby is dictating the Pens' lines, but whatever.

      I think when BB and Neal are healthy, it's worth trying Kunitz-Crosby-BB, and moving Dupuis to the line with Neal and Geno. Three reasons: 1) Crosby is such a gifted passer than having a right handed shot on his line could be a huge asset for him, 2) I think Crosby can extract more out of BB than Geno can; and 3) Dupuis will bring more maturity, defensive awareness, and 200ft of responsibility to the Geno-Neal combo. I like it for all involved.

      Whether Crosby will unchain Bylsma and Shero from the post in his basement and grant them permission to do that ... you'd know better than us.

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  5. Are you insinuating that Malkin is not a gifted passer? I guess we can start referring to Crosby as Zed.

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  6. Bold prediction for tonight's game: Sutter nets 2.

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  7. That's one shooter!!

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