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Pittsburgh Penguins Suffer More Injuries Among the Bottom Six Forwards

January 13th, 2014 at 3:49 PM
By Andrew Brown

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With only one game this week, all the injured Pittsburgh Penguins can take a little extra time to get healthy . . . including the newly hurting Joe Vitale and Brian Gibbons. Dealing with injuries is sadly a new verse in the annoying old song for the Pens, who have overcome a litany of alignments this season while managing to stay atop the Metropolitan Division. Vitale is listed with a upper-body injury and will out for about three weeks. Gibbons is week-to-week with a lower-body injury he suffered during the first period of Saturday's game against the Calgary Flames. These injuries hamper a already reeling bottom six forward unit.

With Vitale and Gibbons out for a spell with up to four other grinders, the Penguins are forced to roll with the Island of Misfit Forwards.

The third line is easily the Penguins weakest and these injuries only make it worse. Brandon Sutter, the anchor of the third unit, will see yet another set of wingers flank him Wednesday against the Washington Capitals. Look for Chuck Kobasew to be slotted there if he's ready to go by then (head coach Dan Bylsma called him day-to-day). Zach Sill, who has been very impressive as a role player, might get the promotion to third line as well. Sill is a hard worker along the boards and is not opposed to physical play or throwing down. Heck, even Deryk Engelland  might be moved up. The Pens are that depleted!

The news is not as grime for the fourth line. With the injury bug biting like its Panama 1904, it's amazing that Craig Adams hasn't been fallen. Yet. The thirteen-year veteran has played every game for the Pens the last three seasons. Sure, he doesn't blow up the stats-sheet and misses open nets with such regularity that the PA guy should have the sad trombone sound effect on stand by. But Adams is as defensibility sound as forwards come and blocks shots like a darn champ. He's that guy a team needs to win a Cup. So's his line-mate Tanner Glass, whose a hard hitter with good speed. Unfortunately, they are matched with Taylor Pyatt . . . who has done nothing in a Penguins uniform. Literally nothing. It's looking like the Pittsburgh Penguins #17 is cursed.

The silver lining here is that all these injuries are not long-term and the ones that were are coming back sooner than later. So if the stars align and the prophecy is true, the Penguins should carry a fully loaded roster by sometime around the Olympic break. And that's a massive if (stupid prophecy!).

As mentioned before, the Penguins next game is Wednesday against the Caps. Hopefully no one else gets hurts between now and then.

Tags: Hockey, Joe Vitale, NHL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Penguins

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