Penguins take another hit on D
Injured Saturday on a hit by Tampa Bay forward David Koci in the Penguins' exhibition opener at Mellon Arena, Gonchar's left shoulder will undergo a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test sometime this week. He did not practice yesterday.
Make no mistake, other than Marc-Andre Fleury or Sidney Crosby going down, Gonchar is the worst possible player for the Penguins to lose for any extended amount of time. No longer is he simply an offence-first defenceman; Gonchar is Pittsburgh's top option on the blueline in every situation, a player that leads the team in icetime because he's out there every penalty kill, power play and late-game situation.
Seth Rorabaugh has a good look at just how important Whitney and Gonchar have been to Pittsburgh's success since the lockout.
It's tough to say how long Gonchar will be out given what we know, but it could be a period of months. If that's the case, Pittsburgh's blueline looks awfully thin, and youngsters like Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski could be handed key minutes in offensive situations.
No other Penguins defenceman had more than Hal Gill's 24 points, and you don't want to see him quarterbacking the power play.