Mad Monday with @MadChad412 (Kris Letang's Injury, Ilya Bryzgalov Rumors) - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Mad Monday with @MadChad412 (Kris Letang's Injury, Ilya Bryzgalov Rumors)

Last week we debuted my new format "Mad Monday" with me, Mad Chad. Basically it's a format where I can rant about Pittsburgh Penguin related topics in a somewhat formal matter. Today's topics include Kris Letang's injury, Ilya Bryzgalov rumors, and Deryk Engelland sucking.

So here's what I'm mad about this week:

Injuries before the season even starts: 

In a shocking development, apparently Kris Letang is will miss "Undetermined" amount of time with what's being called a lower-body injury. ESPN first reported that Letang had an upper-body injury, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is now reporting that it's most likely some sort of knee or lower-body injury.

I don't really have any indication of whether that's a short-term or extended [injury] or what the extent to that would be," coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday. "We're going to wait to see when we get back to Pittsburgh." - quote courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

I can't stand these out of nowhere before the season even starts type of injuries. No one seems to know much about the injury or when it even happened; and I'm not sure we'll ever find out that information. Letang, is coming off of his best career season, a season in which he finished as a finalist for the Norris Trophy, is a huge part of this Pittsburgh Penguins team.

Despite what his critics say, and yes he has a ton of them see Twitter for an example, Letang is one of the three best offensive defencemen in the NHL. Letang has his flaws (turnovers, defensive lapses) but overall is still one of the ten best defencemen in the NHL. The bad thing is Letang just signed one of the biggest contracts in the NHL this past summer and is already getting injured. That's never a good sign.

The good news is the Pens are very deep on the blue-line, with Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres both clamoring for a roster spot. The Penguins are currently over the salary cap and until they figure out what they're going to do with Tomas Vokoun, they're most likely going to send Despres down to the AHL. I'm not a huge fan of that but it's really the only move they can make.

Another thing that could happen from Letang being out is a nine-game stint from Olli Maatta, who will spend most of the year in the minors. I for one am excited as Hell about Mattaa and what he's going to bring to the table in the future for the Pens.

Making things worse this mans that Deryk Engelland is most likely going to play at some point which I'm always against.

It will also be interesting to see what the pairings will be if Letang does miss significant time. Rob Scuderi, aka "The Piece" was brought in to play with Letang and sure up things defensively while allowing Letang to generate offense using his speed in the transition game. Letang's absence would most likely put Paul Martin on the first powerplay with Matt Niskanen getting increased ice-time.

It's also not a good start to the season, considering that the Penguins already lost their backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun for significant time to do a blot clot. Now the Penguins are about to start the season without their veteran backup goalie and their number one defenceman's health both up in the air. Yikes.

I'm also mad about Fake NHL rumors. 

We've all experienced false reports, especially with the advancement in the internet and social media. Over the weekend was another prime example of some reporter trying to make a name for herself by being the first to report "big and shocking news". Lisa Hillary of CSN, tweeted that NHL management sources told her that the Pittsburgh Penguins had legitimate interest in free-agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. 

Obviously with the Pens not knowing the future of their current backup Vokoun, everyone has been speculating about what kind of move they can make to sure up their already shaky goaltending situation. As it stands right now, the backup would be 26 year-old rookie Jeff Zatkoff  in net. Obviously you'd like to see what the Pens have in Zatkoff and perhaps they can get away with playing him as the backup until the find out the long-term prognosis on Vokoun, but that's a big risk, especially considering the dark cloud that looms over starter Marc-Andre Fleury.

Ms. Hillary has since been proven wrong by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pens' beat-writer Josh Yohe, who tweeted that the Pens are in fact "not currently pursuing Bryzgalov". My first reaction is thank God. Despite being one of the most interesting characters in the NHL OFF THE ICE, Bryzgalov, like Fleury, is a bit of a head case. He was bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers and nobody has tried to sign him since. 

Bryzgalov's numbers have gone down each of the past few years in Philadelphia, which isn't a surprise. Bryzgalov posted back to back seasons with a .920 or better save percentage during his last two years with the Phoenix Coyotes, but posted back to back seasons with a save percentage below a .910 the last two seasons with the Flyers. The Coyotes play a very defensive and goaltender friendly system in Phoenix and Bryzgalov definitely benefited from that system. With the Flyers, things opened up and so did Bryzgalov's five-hole. 

It's not only that, but Bryzgalov has a reputation for being a headcase and a bad guy in the locker room. I don't think that's something the Pens need at the moment, although Bryz's interviews would be epic for Yinzer Nation. 

Instead of Bryzgalov, I think the Pens should take a look at Johan Hedberg and Jose Theodore. Both more stable in the head and both should be cheaper options. 

That concludes another "Mad Monday" with me, Chad Nolan, aka Mad Chad. Follow me on Twitter at @MadChad412 

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