Evgeni Malkin has decided to make the Penguins’ next month of hockey marginally more challenging by sitting out 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury. In response, the Pens have called up Chris Conner and some dude named Mark Letestu from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
No word yet on precisely how the team plans to compensate for his ice time, but I imagine the Staal-Kennedy-Cooke line will remain intact (when Kennedy returns) and possibly assume the technical moniker as the “#2 Line,” with perhaps Craig Adams centering Fedotenko and Conner on a half-scorey, half-grindy sort of third line. Dupuis could bump Conner in a pinch, but I’m guessing they’re not calling up Conner to have him sit, and Dupuis would be far better suited for a role on a 4th line and occassional PK or random thrown-together-after-powerplay line. Rupp isn’t going anywhere, and Godard, Bourque, and Letestu can rotate in the other roster spots, depending on who gets the most impressive one rush down the side and wrist shot into the opposing goalie’s glove.
Malkin’s spot on the power play will probably be shared by Kennedy and/or Fedotenko, but I’m also guessing we’ll see Conner out there with the man advantage as well. I’m glad the Pens have Conner, too, because he’s exactly the sort of “Just called up from the AHL!” dude who would definitely score against the Penguins in his first game up.
Obviously, with Gonchar out already, this gives the Pens some major ice time to redistribute, but it’s also not even November and there’s no way the Pens aren’t making the playoffs, so as long as it’s not a nagging injury for Malkin, the Pens giving him a little rest and their depth guys some more seasoning probably won’t be a bad thing.
Anyone wanna dare them to try to keep winning with Crosby out too? Cahhhmaaaaaan……