Earlier this season it seemed like the Columbus Blue Jackets couldn’t catch a break when it came to injuries. It looks like they’ve passed the bug to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh announced this morning that Patric Hornqvist, the third highest point-getter on the Penguins with 13 goals and 29 points in 33 games, will be sidelined at least a few weeks with an undisclosed lower body injury that was suffered on Saturday night.
With 11 Penguins already on the injured list, Hornqvist’s injury leaves Pittsburgh even more shorthanded.
It’s been that kind of season for the Penguins, though. And it seems like it’s been this way for a couple of years now. A strange injury here, an on-ice injury there, and all of a sudden a team that looks primed to compete for the Stanley Cup is left searching for a magic cure to right the ship.
Last season, it was Tomas Vokoun who missed nearly the entire year with blood clots. Then Kris Letang had a stroke. And now, this season, Pascal Dupuis is out with blood clots in his lungs while several players have been diagnosed with the mumps.
A quick glance at the Penguins injured reserve will leave your head in your hands. As of Sunday, Craig Adams, Beau Bennett, Blake Comeau, Steve Downie, Dupuis, Christian Ehrhoff, Thomas Greiss, Olli Maatta, Paul Martin, Zach Sill, and Scott Wilson are all nursing some sort of ailment. Add to it Hornqvist and you have an All-Injured team that may be able to compete with the Sabres.
And it seems as soon as a player gets healthy, another goes right to the IR.
Over the last two weeks, Sidney Crosby (mumps), Chris Kunitz (foot), Brandon Sutter (illness), and Robert Bortuzzo (upper body injury) have all returned to the lineup. That is to say that in the last two weeks, more than half the Penguins roster has missed time.
The Penguins are currently holding on to a slim lead in the Metropolitan Division, just two points ahead of the surprising Islanders. But Pittsburgh has dropped its last two games, and with the injuries piling up, a slide could be in the works.
When healthy, they’re one of the best, and most exciting, teams in hockey. That said, however, it seems staying healthy is their biggest problem.