Hits, points, keep coming for Penguins
Broken bones. Blood clots. Torn ligaments. Concussions. Strokes. The 2013-14 Penguins have suffered all of those and more, churning through 39 players and leading the NHL with 513 man-games lost.
For all of their scars, the Penguins managed to earn the second Eastern Conference playoff seed and compile 108 points through Saturday's games, trailing only the 2011-12 and 1992-93 squads for the highest single-season total in franchise history.
Historically, teams decimated by injuries are fortunate to rack up even half of their total possible points, much less compete for the Stanley Cup. Since 2009-10, nine teams have endured at least 400 man-games lost during the regular season. The 2013-14 Penguins and Red Wings are the first clubs crossing that threshold to make the playoffs. None of these creaky teams compares to the Penguins in points percentage:
Games Pts.Team Year lost pct.
Islanders 10-11 614 .445
Oilers 09-10 521 .411
Penguins 13-14 513 .669
Avalanche 10-11 474 .415
Canadiens 11-12 439 .476
Devils 10-11 425 .494
Wild 10-11 421 .524
Blue Jackets 11-12 409 .396
Red Wings 13-14 412 .562
Avg. --- --- .487
Sidney Crosby, shelved by concussion and jaw injuries in years past, has been a picture of health. But the Penguins have been forced to battle without many of their best — and highest-paid — players.
Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Paul Martin, Pascal Dupuis, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Rob Scuderi, whose combined cap hit exceeds $33 million, have missed considerable time.
With so many skilled, well-compensated players ailing, the Penguins lead the NHL in a stat called Cap Hit of Injured Player. CHIP measures the quality of players lost to injury by calculating the portion of a player's total cap hit accumulated while he's out of the lineup. The Penguins' CHIP is nearly 2 1⁄2 times higher than the NHL average.
Team CHIP (in millions)
Red Wings $11.27
NHL avg. $5.33
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.