The Pittsburgh Penguins have always had an extensive history with their players suffering from injuries. Of course, in recent history this extends to the COVID-19 pandemic that has interrupted nearly all facets of society for years. After losing an incredible number of man-games already, the Pittsburgh Penguins could finally be healthy.
The Injuries and COVID Cases
The obvious two players to talk about when it comes to injuries are their star players. Both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were completely absent from the start of the season, with Malkin only coming back Jan. 11. Malkin’s road to recovery from his knee injury and subsequent surgery was tough, but he got there. Crosby’s nagging wrist injury also ended up resulting in surgery and played one game Oct. 30 before contracting COVID.
Speaking of COVID, that’s also been a major hurdle for the team. Crosby was finally able to permanently return Nov. 14 after completing his quarantine. Very recently, Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker were released from their quarantine as well. As anybody can imagine, losing both of these wingers dealt a huge blow to the Penguins’ offensive threat, but they are back with a vengeance.
Even more players have left their mandated quarantine. On Wednesday, Danton Heinen, Zach Aston-Reese and Casey DeSmith were seen on the ice at practice. Although they are looking to be healthy, head coach Mike Sullivan did not make a statement regarding whether or not those they will play in recent games. After all is said and done, the Pittsburgh Penguins are finally healthy with no COVID cases and only one injury.
Return To Dominance?
Considering how the Penguins have played recently, they are looking to return to dominance. They went on an incredible 10-game winning streak, and that was without Malkin and some games without Zucker. Now that the lines are fully back together, things are looking up. The dominant first line with undoubtedly remain Rust, Crosby and Jake Guentzel.
The second line will be almost just as offensively lethal, with Zucker, Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen. Even the Penguins third line will produce an incredible amount of offense as when it’s complete, the line will be Jeff Carter, Danton Heinen and Evan Rodrigues. The fourth and defensive line will be Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger and Brock McGinn, who also recently came out of COVID protocol.
It’s been a long time coming since these players have been on the ice with each other during a game. Crosby and Malkin are showing that they continue to be dominant, even as they get older. It looks like absolutely nothing can slow them down. Fans everywhere should expect nothing other than impressive hockey. That is, if the Pittsburgh Penguins remain healthy.
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