On Friday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that talented young forward Daniel Sprong, 19, is expected to miss up to eight months after having shoulder surgery. This comes after a rush of news that maintenance days for Penguins such as Nick Bonino and Evgeni Malkin were indeed just maintenance days.
Sprong’s return to the NHL will more than likely be delayed. While he will likely be back in time to play later in the season, general manager Jim Rutherford had this to say about Sprong’s injury news:
“I don’t think it sets it back that we have to be overly concerned. He’s a young guy. He’ll heal 100 percent. He’s not going to start to play in September, will be more like December, January now.”
Since Wednesday’s Championship Parade, reports have been flying about how many players battled through ailing bodies and injuries during Pittsburgh’s playoff run. Here is a report of all the players that fought against both their opponents and their own bodies.
During the Stanley Cup champion’s locker room clean-out, Evgeni Malkin revealed he played through a troubled elbow, the same elbow that kept him out for more than a month.
Malkin told the press that he will receive an MRI to determine if he needs surgery to repair his elbow. Rutherford said the likelihood of Malkin needing surgery is “50-50.”
Regardless of injury, the tree trunk of a center finished the playoffs with 18 points (6 G, 12 A) and didn’t miss a beat.
Penguins right winger Tom Kuhnhackl was seen wearing a walking boot both before and after Pittsburgh’s playoff run. No one, including Kuhnhackl, seemed to be too worried about it, and there’s no worry that he won’t be ready for the start of the season.
The most veteran of all the Penguins played in the playoff with a broken toe suffered in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Luckily for Pittsburgh, Cullen was able to lace up his skates and play. If not for Cullen’s contributions, the Penguins may have been at the opposite end of the Stanley Cup Final.
Cullen’s experience and tenacity allowed head coach Mike Sullivan to utilize all four of his lines, and the winger was paired with Kuhnhackl and Eric Fehr. At this point, it’s unclear whether Cullen will be returning next season, one of Pittsburgh’s few question marks heading into the 2016-17 season.
The rookie winger broke his finger in the final period of Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Finals. The injury to his right hand isn’t expected to be a concern at the start of next season, but it’s expected to need some time to recover after some brutal playoff games.
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh’s most talented defenseman, was reportedly receiving treatment for a toe infection, however, the extent of the injury and for how long Letang was suffering is unknown.
What is known is that the shooting defenseman played a vital role in the Penguins being able to hoist the Cup with his 15 points (3 G, 12 A).
Bonino, Bonino, Bonino, was very close to being a no-go during the Stanley Cup finals.
The first-time champion had to have doses of antibiotics and IV fluids pumped into his system to step on the ice for Game 6. Bonino was suffering through an elbow infection during the Stanley Cup Final and also had the flu in the final games of the Eastern Conference finals.
“We had a lot of guys that were banged up and played through a lot for us to win the Stanley Cup,” Sullivan said. “Everybody has some time now to heal their wounds, but they certainly played through a lot.”
Image credit: Penguins.NHL.com