It’s locker room clean out day today at PPG Paints Arena, officially signifying the end of the 2017-18 season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Players, coaches and executives met with the media for the final time this season to go over the season that was, look forward to next season and, as is tradition, pour over the litany of undocumented playoff injuries.
Amongst the Penguins playing banged up with undisclosed injuries against the Washington Capitals last round were leaders like Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard.
Up first, Crosby admitted to having some “bumps and bruises” that he played through during the playoffs, but wouldn’t divulge the nature or severity of his injuries. He did confirm, however, that he has declined an opportunity to play for Team Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Championships in Denmark this month:
It sounds like Sidney Crosby will (understandably) opt for rest rather than joining Team Canada at the worlds. Played deep into the spring the last three years.
2017: June 11, won Stanley Cup.2016: June 12, won Stanley Cup.
2015: May 17, won gold at worlds.
As for Kessel, the Penguins’ leading Iron Man who hasn’t missed a game in eight consecutive seasons, he has been playing through injuries all season, according to Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.
GM Rutherford on if Kessel was dealing with injuries in the playoffs: "He's dealt with injuries all year. He played through those during the whole regular season. I know some of those things he dealt with caught up with him. Nothing will require surgery."
Good news / bad news, I guess. While it’s good that Kessel’s ailments won’t require surgery or any kind of comprehensive rehab, it really makes you wonder how much further this team could have gone with Phil at 100%. During the Capitals series especially, it was clear that Kessel just didn’t have his A game. Here’s hoping he can now take the next few months to really heal up properly and come back better than ever in 2018-19.
Finally, Brassard the team’s deadline day prize who couldn’t seem to get things on track during the playoffs was also confirmed to have an undisclosed injury.
GMJR says Brassard dealt with a significant injury, and that was a bigger issue than anything. Nobody's saying what it was, though.
Rutherford would go on to further explain that Brassard’s injury occurred during the final games of the regular season, perhaps explaining his dip in production for the post season. It also explains Brassard’s dip in playing time during the post season, as well.
Derick Brassard: "I wasn’t playing the same amount of minutes, but I’m standing here today, accepting my role because to be a part of this team because we had a good team and a good chance to win. I would’ve played five minutes if I had to."
All in all, while banged up, things could have gone much worse on the injury front for this team. Every team has their fair share of bumps and bruises during the course of the season, luckily it doesn’t appear as if any of the Penguins will suffer long-term though.