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Where They Stand:
First in Metropolitan Division, first in Eastern Conference
6-3-1 in last 10 games before Olympic break
Why Sochi Hurt:
The Penguins sent seven players and their head coach to Sochi. Olli Maatta had a great tournament, and Jussi Jokinen also performed well, both for Finland.
Beyond that, Evgeni Malkin was a weak link on a disappointing Russian team, recording just one goal and three points in five games. Among the Americans, Brooks Orpik was exposed for his lack of foot speed on the big ice, while his defense partner Paul Martin suffered a broken hand in the quarterfinal game against the Czechs.
Meanwhile, coach Dan Bylsma bore the brunt of the blame for the collapse of a U.S. team that had looked so good in the preliminary rounds and was thought to be among the strongest ever assembled.
Even Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, who won gold medals with Canada, didn't score up to their usual levels in Sochi, though they got better as the tournament wore on.
Martin had been back in the Penguins' lineup for just 10 games before the Olympic break after missing two months with a broken leg. NHL.com reports that he's now sidelined for another 4-6 weeks with the hand injury suffered in Sochi. Martin's absence comes on top of Kris Letang's, another top-four blueliner who's reportedly out for at least another month after suffering a stroke.
The Penguins' AHL call-ups have performed well for them during Martin and Letang's absences earlier in the season, but after four years of disappointment since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, you can bet that Bylsma wishes he could use his "A" roster through the season's final weeks as the team prepares to take another run at the big prize.