Updates from Thursday, Feb. 27
Pascal Dupuis spoke to the media on Thursday about his knee surgery and recovery (via the Penguins on Twitter):
Pascal Dupuis: "Surgery went well. Rehabbing right now. Trying to get better." #Pens— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 27, 2014
Dupuis: "6-8 months is a long time. You know me. I'll be pushing for 6." #Pens— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 27, 2014
Pascal Dupuis on lingering effects of the injury: "I'm coming back 100 percent" #Pens— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 27, 2014
The Pittsburgh Penguins are off to a hot first half of the NHL season as they lead the Eastern Conference with 55 points, but their mettle will be tested moving forward due to the fact that they may be without forward Pascal Dupuis for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign.
According to the Penguins' official Twitter account, Dupuis needs surgery on his ACL, although his status moving forward is still unknown.
Dupuis going to have ACL knee surgery. May be out for rest of the season. Timetable unknown #Pens— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 27, 2013
ACL surgery tends to be season-ending in nature most of the time, though, and Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that Dupuis will miss the rest of the season in all likelihood. Yohe also talked about the impact the injury would have on his career:
Dupuis surgery for torn ACL is in two weeks. Almost definitely out for season.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) December 27, 2013
Dupuis will be 35 in April. Speed is his game. Not a good injury, obviously.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) December 27, 2013
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review pointed out Dupuis' cap hit:
Dupuis cap hit is $3.75 M. That will come off. #pens have been making moves all season to save every cap $— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) December 27, 2013
Meanwhile, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provided some teammate reaction:
Carolina C Jordan Staal, on Penguins' run of injuries: "It’s really been unfortunate. I have a lot of good friends who are out. It’s no fun"— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) December 27, 2013
Crosby, on playing w/Vitale: "He creates a lot of loose pucks, goes to the net hard. I don’t think he really has to change his game at all."— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) December 27, 2013
Crosby, on long-term loss of Dupuis: "It’s not easy. We’ve played together for a long time. ... There are a lot of things he does well."— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) December 27, 2013
Dupuis doesn't receive as much credit as the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang, but he is an integral part of the Pens' success.
How significant is the loss of Dupuis to Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup aspirations?
Crosby and Malkin can't do everything on their own. They need quality players like Dupuis alongside them in order to take advantage of their superior playmaking skills. With Dupuis on the shelf, somebody else will have to step up.
Dupuis has 20 points in 39 games this season, and he has been a key contributor to the team over the past couple years especially. Dupuis racked up 38 points in 48 games last season, and he had a career year in 2011-12 with 25 goals and 59 points.
Dupuis has been a model of consistency and durability for the Pens, having not missed more than one game in a season since 2008-09. Dupuis' knee injury is of the fluke variety. The incident occurred during Pittsburgh's 5-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 23.
As seen in this GIF courtesy of The Score's Katie Flynn via Sportsnet, Senators defenseman Marc Methot hit Crosby, which propelled Crosby into Dupuis. His knee bent awkwardly and it was immediately apparent that there was something wrong.
Crosby was nearly injured on the play as well, and he wasn't particularly happy about the target area of the hit, according to Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"I don't know how low it was," Crosby said of the hit. "He almost blew my knee out. It was pretty low. I don't know if it was right above my knee or by my hip. I just know that it was awfully close."
Losing Crosby obviously would have been far more devastating to the Penguins' Stanley Cup hopes, but being without Dupuis isn't an ideal situation either.
In his absence, Crosby and Malkin will have to pick up even more of the offensive slack. In terms of secondary scoring, though, head coach Dan Bylsma will look toward Jussi Jokinen and Brandon Sutter to fill the void.
The Pens should be able to weather the storm without Dupuis, but don't be surprised if they're players for a winger once the trade deadline rolls around.
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