Pens defenseman Gonchar out 4-6 weeks
The Penguins will be without top defenseman Sergei Gonchar for between 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his left wrist, coach Dan Bylsma said today.
Gonchar will not need surgery, but his bone has been reset in a cast.
Gonchar left the club's victory against St. Louis on Tuesday night midway through the second period. The collision St. Louis right wing David Backes that caused Gonchar's injury was not seen by most teammates or observers, and Bylsma said after the game that video footage was not ideal to assess the sequence.
Bylsma said today that he did not view the hit as illegal or dirty, and labeled Gonchar's injury as a result as "just unfortunate."
Gonchar will be replaced in the lineup by veteran defenseman Martin Skoula, who was signed by the Penguins in late September. Skoula has yet to play this season, but has appeared in no fewer than 79 games in each of his previous nine National Hockey League seasons.
Bylsma also said young defensemen Kris Letang, in his third full season, and Alex Goligoski, who played half of last season, will be "sprinkled around" in the defense pairings. The defense corps also includes Brooks Orpik, Mark Eaton and Jay McKee.
This will mark the second consecutive season in which Gonchar has missed significant time. He did not play in the Penguins' first 56 games last season because of a left shoulder injury. He was injured during the club's first exhibition game and didn't return until Feb. 14, and the Penguins were on the outside of the Easter Conference playoff bubble by that point. He scored six goals and recorded 19 points, third-most among club defensemen, in 25 games to close the 2008-09 regular season, and the Penguins were 17-4-4 in games he played.
Gonchar also missed two games in the Penguins' second round playoff series against Washington after a knee-on-knee collision with Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin. He spent the past summer recovering from a partially torn medial collateral ligament, though he did not need surgery.
Gonchar, 35, is in the final year of his contract with the Penguins. Talks about an extension that would allow him to finish his National Hockey League career with the franchise are expected to resume Jan. 1; both sides recently agreed to a postponement of discussions until the Penguins have a better idea on the 2010-10 league salary cap.
Gonchar is joined by Penguins captain Sidney Crosby as the third most tenured player on the team behind goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Orpik, who will fill in for Gonchar as an alternate captain.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Penguins GM insists new coach Johnston was no afterthought
- Penguins coach says team needs to ‘lessen the load’ on Crosby
- Penguins goalie Fleury likely to enter season without new contract
- Pens’ Johnston hopes to `lessen the load’ for Crosby
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Penguins alumni rally to help Mitch Wilson, who is fighting ALS
- Now healthy, Penguins’ Bennett eyes bigger role
- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby says aching wrist doing better