Penguins

Kovacevic: Best move for beat-up Penguins? None

And that, hockey fans, is why smart general managers don't make significant trades in December.

Or January.

Or even early February.

Or even when half the roster gets ravaged by injury, illness or random meteor showers.

Which might actually be a fair way to assess the Pyrrhic state of these first-place Penguins at the moment: Tuesday opened with Kris Letang placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Sidney Crosby and Robert Bortuzzo, both ill, were declared unlikely to be ready for the nighttime faceoff with the Devils. And when those two surprisingly took the ice for warmups, Chris Kunitz didn't. It was later revealed he has a fractured foot and will miss at least a couple weeks, leaving the roster without two top wingers. (Or three, if anyone still counts Beau Bennett.)

Am I forgetting anyone?

Oh, yeah, even the emergency reinforcements weren't immune: Poor Scott Wilson, fresh off a hasty drive across I-80 from Wilkes-Barre and making his NHL debut on what he'd joyfully called "one of the best days of my life," didn't last two periods of what wound up a 1-0 shutout victory.

"Leg injury," Mike Johnston called it, offering an uncharacteristic specific, the sort usually associated with something serious. "We'll know more tomorrow."

To continue reading, log into your account: