An Upside to Gonchar's Injury?

With Gonchar "on the shelf" for a month or so there are some Penguin fans starting to panic; and to some degree rightly so. Sarge (as he is called) is currently tied with Crosby for second most points on the team at 8. He has played (and continues to play) an integral part of the Penguins defense as well as offense, particularly on the powerplay. He is a leader out on the ice and continues to be our top blue-liner.

So with an impact like this, it begs the question: Can there possibly be an upside to his injury? I assert that there actually is.

We all are going to miss Gonch, particularly Sid and Geno. But I think there are four things we can see positively coming out of it:
  1. Goligoski's Maturity: Since the beginning of the season Gogo has been a pleasant surprise. He currently sits in the 3rd position in Penguins scoring (7) and leads the team in +/- with +9. He capitalized on Gonchar's injury last year by playing some 45 games and getting some great NHL experience. Now with possibly taking a bigger role aside Eaton on the second line he'll have increased responsibility. And though this may be true of all the d-men, this affords Gogo an even greater opportunity.
  2. Martin Skoula: The signing of Skoula initially seemed a little off in my opinion, but with a situation like this it now shows us (me) the genius of Shero. Skoula will bring some more size to the Penguins blue line as well as championship experience. Bylsma thinks he'll make a "seamless transition."
  3. Rest for Sarge:  Say what you want, its a long season. With the possibility of Sarge getting as much as 6 weeks rest in the beginning of the season could prove quite valuable as the season goes on. 
  4. Team Adaptation: One thing the Penguins learned to do last year is to win without the presence of their rock solid D man. This year they will have to learn to do it again. With a few new guys in the lineup the Pens will need to adjust and adapt to their new roles and subsequently expand their overall effectiveness.

I'm looking forward to seeing how our powerplay will be affected as well. It's been our penalty kill that has show itself approved this year, not the our powerplay. Some wise fans see TK possibly getting a promotion and Geno moving to the point. Having Geno up top may not be the most effective last season, but that was under Therrien. Bylsma will have to make the call here and I trust he'll make the right one. Perhaps we'll see Goligoski get a shot up there as well.

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