The combination of Jordan Staal's knee injury and James Neal's broken foot, along with the continued absence of Sidney Crosby, had people tossing around the word "devastating" for the Pittsburgh Penguins over the next few weeks. Even The Pensblog was speechless.
But here's something we all underestimated: James Neal is a hockey player. He's made of sterner stuff than to let a little thing like a broken foot get in the way of shouldering some of the offensive load for his team.
Of course, it helps that the initial diagnosis was much graver than the actual diagnosis.
Sam Kasan of the Penguins reported that both Neal and Craig Adams, the ace penalty killer who hurt his knee in practice earlier this week, both said they're good to go for tonight's tilt against the Ottawa Senators.
From Kasan, Coach Dan Bylsma relayed the following:
First test on Neal showed fracture. MRI showed pre-existing condition. Has bone bruise but can play. For Neal, with time it will get better. He felt relieved. Just bone bruise should heal as days go by.
Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette said the Penguins could also have Dustin Jeffrey available after a setback from knee surgery. Hey, now the Penguins only need Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Jordan Staal to get healthy. Or find a forward and a goalie for a really awesome pickup team as they heal …