So I wrote a little ditty (shoutout Pat) last year on my old blog about the injuries the Penguins played through on their quest to their fifth Stanley Cup, and people really seemed to enjoy it. Well, now that I write blogs that average well over twenty eyeballs a clip, I feel like it makes sense to bring it back. Only this time it will be the first annual “Who Played Fucked Up” list courtesy of the Pensblog (i.e. the best goddamn Penguins blog on the internet. @ me.).
As you’re probably aware, last year’s season ended on more of a positive note. Gary Bettman handed the Stanley Cup to Sidney Crosby for the third time in his illustrious career while Larry Brooks and Grant Paulsen simultaneously vomited all over themselves, Phil Kessel raised his second middle finger up to the entire city of Toronto, and Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz got absolutely shitfaced for like three days straight. It was great. People were frolicking all over the city without a care in the world. The Pittsburgh Penguins were back-to-back Stanley Cup champions for the second time in franchise history and nothing was going to kill that vibe.
And then came the 2018 postseason…
Right now while you’re reading this blog, Tom from Greensburg is probably calling in to Andrew Fillipponi’s stupid radio show to bitch about why the Penguins should trade Kris Letang while Mark from Munhall is rehearsing lines in his head to call Mark Madden on his way home from work (only he’s pissed off at Phil Kessel). I mean, I’m not quite sure what the Penguins are really supposed to do here. Maybe they’re the assholes for setting such a high precedent. After all, it’s either win the Stanley Cup or else the season’s a complete and utter failure. There’s no in between.
Scorching hot takes aside, the Penguins, in fact, will not win the Stanley Cup this year. I know it’s sad, but you’ll get over it. Perhaps you’ll regain a little hop in your step in approximately a week and a half after the Lightning drum the Caps in the Eastern Conference Finals. Or maybe you have a well developed brain and will begin to realize that last year is probably not the last time the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin-era Penguins will win the Stanley Cup. Either way, you’re going to be fine. And so, too, will the Penguins.
Anyways, we could go down the rabbit hole and dissect why the Penguins got bounced out of the second round of the playoffs this year to the *gulp* Caps, but this isn’t what we do here. If you’re looking for horseshit content like that, go check out Bud Moonshine’s stupid website. However, I think it’s fair to say injuries (along with playing 307 games over the past three seasons) played a big role in why I’m writing this blog during the second week of May. Not just because Kris Letang made a couple of defensive zone coverage errors in Game 5 versus the Washington Capitals. Shocking, I know.
So without further ado, let’s get to the list you’ve all been waiting for. Who played fucked up in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
(Please note that I won’t be ranking the injuries in order of most fucked up to least fucked up this year due to the fact that the Penguins played coy and didn’t reveal as many details during clean out day as they normally do when they’re winning Stanley Cups.)
- Phil Kessel – Multiple Undisclosed Injuries
Fun fact: Phil Kessel hasn’t missed a single game since he sat out the first 12 games of the 2009-2010 regular season – a streak of 804 consecutive games.
Another fun fact: a few dipshit Penguins fans had the audacity to boo Phil Kessel after he turned the puck over during the power play in Game 6 on Monday night versus the Capitals.
It was pretty evident that Kessel was playing through some shit this postseason. I’ve heard everything from ribs to wrist to shoulder. Regardless, the guy still managed to put up 9 points (1G, 8A) in 12 playoff games while injured. The fans who booed him should be publicly tarred and feathered. I mean, how can you not root for a guy like this?
- Evgeni Malkin – Knee Injury
As you may recall, Geno went down rather awkwardly in Game 5 of the Philadelphia series.
Rumor has it that it was an MCL injury, which would make a ton of sense. As far as knee ligament injuries go in hockey, an MCL injury (sprain or complete tear) is typically the only knee injury that you’ll see hockey players play through (also see Sean Couturier). Malkin’s injury would ultimately force him to miss three games this postseason, but he was able to return for the final four games against the Capitals where he produced three points. Pretty impressive, nonetheless.
- Derick Brassard – Undisclosed Lower Body Injury
Lotta hot takes coming out over the past few days about the Derick Brassard trade being a bust. The fact of the matter is Brassard missed the final five games at the end of the regular season and rushed back into the lineup in time for the playoffs. The rumor mill is chalking this one up to a groin injury, which would qualify as a “very difficult to play with” considering hockey players use their groin muscles every single time they take a stride. Kind of an important muscle group imo. But the fact of the matter is people are going to bash him for only producing four points in 12 playoff games (1G, 3A). Definitely didn’t have anything to do with the fact that he was playing on the 4th line alongside Conor Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl. Nope, definitely not. My prediction is Derick Brassard settles down next year and becomes a force on the third line for the Penguins (or on one of the top two lines as a winger). For that reason alone, it would make a ton of sense to BUY NOW! before these shirts start selling off the shelves like hot cakes next season.
- Dominik Simon – Fractured Left Thumb
Finally! A disclosed injury. Let’s just hope for Simon’s sake he has a girlfriend (or is right handed at the very least). After all, it didn’t really seem like holding a hockey stick affected him too much. Still have no idea why he was playing on the top line with Crosby, though.
- Carl Hagelin – Lacerated Tongue
First thing’s first. I don’t really care whether or not you want to believe me about this, but Carl Hagelin missed a few games because he basically bit his tongue in half after getting popped by Claude Giroux in the first round.
Never in my life would I have predicted I’d have sources with inside information on the Pittsburgh Penguins, but apparently I do. And no, I’m not naming the individual who relayed this to me. But trust me, it’s accurate. By the way, when players break their jaws, they don’t typically wear full shields. Lest we forget, Sidney Crosby back in 2013.
By the way, can’t even imagine cutting my tongue in half. I cry like a fucking baby whenever I bite my tongue by accident while trying to chew food like a Neanderthal.
- Tom Kuhnhackl – Undisclosed Injury
Your guess is as good as mine. He looked fine to me.
- Sidney Crosby – Wear and Tear
The guy had 21 points in 12 playoff games. He could have two torn ACLs for all I’m concerned, and he’d still be better than 75% of the league. Fact.
And finally, a bonus entry.
- Zach Aston-Reese – Broken Jaw/Concussion
I know he doesn’t technically count on this list since he didn’t play through his injuries, but I couldn’t not include him after looking like a damn chipmunk yesterday at clean out day.
And in case you were wondering, Tom Wilson still drinks pee (and apparently doesn’t apologize after failed decapitation attempts).
And that’ll do it for the injury report. Talk to you assholes later.