With the rest of the league holding their breath in anticipation of the beginning of the season, and the Pens-addicts holding their breath in anticipation of the next defenceman to go down, let's state the obvious, Sergei Gonchar (Sarge) member of the newly dubbed Flower Protection League is out until somewhere around St. Patrick's Day recovering from shoulder surgery.
It seems odd to be able to say Mark Eaton and 'one of the healthy defenceman', knock on wood, (banging forehead against desk) in the same sentence, but here we are in that bizarre place. But before we all retreat into a defensive coma let's look at the rest of the FPL (Flower Protection League, remember?). Everyone, with the exception of Goligoski is a seasoned member of the same triple duo that flung opposing players bodies around the ice and their own in front of pucks to help win games and preserve shut-outs for the Flower so well last year. And putting a bit more pressure on Le-tank to crank up that cannon and not defer to Sarge could be a good thing. The depth in WBS is a bit thin with NHL experience, but you've got to like what we've seen out of Baby Pens like Richmond and Lovejoy in the pre-season. Stick one of those youngsters with Gill, Scuderi, or Sydor to give them a bit of direction, and good things could happen. Oh mistakes will be made, but all in all it's not time to break out the Woobie and start sucking our thumbs yet. Oh, and put away those Youtube vids of Game 5, yes it was an awesome performance, but this is a new season.
In an opinion I didn't read until after I wrote this (would I lie to you?) Seth, over at Empty Netters has a similar take on the situation.