Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gonchar to miss most of season

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar will be sidelined until March after undergoing surgery scheduled for Thursday to repair a dislocated left shoulder, sources told the Tribune-Review late Monday.

The Penguins are expected to make an official announcement today.
This is not the ideal man to go down for the Penguins.

Gonchar had a terrific season last year, logging nearly 26 minutes a night and playing a ton on both the penalty kill and power play. He put up 65 points, finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting and then had 14 points in 20 games in a run to the finals.

Pittsburgh's pretty snug against the cap, so bringing in a high-priced reinforcement is unlikely, and it's going to fall to a rather ordinary group of blueliners led by Brooks Orpik and Hal Gill to hold the fort until Ryan Whitney can return in midseason.

Who would have ever thought David Koci would have this big of an impact on the 2008-09 season?

Minus Gonchar and Whitney, the Penguins are going to be a considerably different team and there's going to have to be an adjustment period. They now desperately need Kris Letang to log a lot more minutes than he has to date.

The Atlantic Division is looking at lot more wide open these days.

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At 8:13 a.m., September 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:15 a.m., September 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's to hoping Goligoski has a Letang-like debut.

At 12:03 p.m., September 30, 2008, Anonymous The Silver Fox said...

Dear Pittsburgh,

Can I interest you in a Pavel Kubina?

Cliff Fletcher

At 12:07 p.m., September 30, 2008, Blogger Bob Roberts said...

Three positives from this:

Gonchar will be fresh for the playoffs, and might even be back earlier.

Goligoski will get a solid chance to show he belongs.

The players' "we can adjust because we'll all step up to cover for guy" culture will get another solid boost, and that's part of a Cup-winning culture. One more piece in firmly in place.

At 9:59 p.m., September 30, 2008, Blogger Frank said...

No worries. Goligoski is looking good and Letang will actually shoot more, which is something everyone was telling him to do last season anyways.

The Pens handled injuries fine last season and this should be no problem at all.

At 11:45 p.m., September 30, 2008, Blogger Comrade J. Michael Neal said...

Interesting. Goligoski suffered a rotater cuff tear a couple of years ago, which just killed him down the stretch and in the playoffs his last year at the University of Minnesota. Before that, he was a joy to watch, so hopefully it isn't the sort of injury that plagues a career.

The Gophers, on the other hand, still haven't recovered from his loss. I really think that having him back would have changed Minnesota from a seventh place team that barely squeaked into the NCAA tournament (yes, the WCHA is that tough) into a real contender. Just one defenseman who could move the puck would have made a huge difference, and Goligoski can definitely do that.

My only concern about him at the NHL level, aside from his shoulder, is that he doesn't have much of a physical presence.


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