Bad news today from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the form of injury updates to Bryan Rust and Chad Ruhwedel.
Coach Sullivan about players injured in yesterday's game: "Rust is a lower-body injury that lasts longer. Ruhwedel is in the longer term with an upper body injury. "
– Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 27, 2019
"Longer term" in terms of coaching speech is not a good sign. Rust was seen in a walking boot shortly after last night's match. He was injured after colliding with Adam McQuaid, who then fell on him too.
It's a crucial defeat. Just look at the goal leaders of the team since December 12, categorized by goals:
Rust's 16 goals will be hard to replace. His place in the practice was taken by Dominik Simon.
It's a bit lost, but it's awful for Ruhwedel too. Obviously, this is never the right time to hurt, but Ruhwedel finally got a regular game time – and not too bad either. He is a free player at the end of the season. The Pens have just exchanged their services against another defender, they already have six under contract next year. And two restricted free agents that are scheduled to bring back at this point, Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola.
Ruhwedel might have played to show himself elsewhere. We saw him, the arm under the sling after the game. It's never a good sign either.
Here are what the lines looked like today:
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Zach Aston-Reese – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Jared McCann – Nick Bjugstad – Dominik Simon
Garrett Wilson – Matt Cullen – ____________
Jack Johnson / Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson / Erik Gudbranson
Juuso Riikola / Zach Trotman
-With Rust's injury, the team has only 11 forwards. Expect a call (Teddy Blueger?) Before the next match to join the fourth line
-Erik Gudbranson made his presentations to the team. Despite all the nasty and mean things that people have said about him, he knows which end of the stick to put on the ice, so it's a start
-No returns again for Brian Dumoulin or Kris Letang. The pens have a few days of rest here, but a back-to-back match is imminent Friday and Saturday and they will arrive quickly. Ideally, especially for the return of a concussion, the return on the ice is an important and visible "step" on the way home. We are not there yet and we do not know when it will be.