Defensemen Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz were injured last night by questionable hits. Maatta is out six weeks after hand surgery. Schultz’ long-term status is unknown. A concussion seems likely. He won’t play tonight at Columbus. Cameron Gaunce and Steve Oleksy are up from the minors.
Winnipeg hit high and late all night. Evgeni Malkin, of all people, got even with a shoulder to Blake Wheeler’s head.
If Malkin gets fined, or even suspended, so what? But nobody should want Malkin to do what he did. Malkin stood up for his teammates. Full credit to him for that. But Malkin should never put himself at risk. Now the Penguins’ March 8 visit to Winnipeg looms as an excrement show.
Laissez-faire officiating is the trigger for that nonsense. Don’t call this, ignore that, and things get out of control.
Last night’s game was physical with a side of cheap, and the Jets got the better of that part. How should the Penguins deal with a situation like that?
Just play through it.
Retaliating is not the Penguins’ style, or identity. When Malkin retaliated in like, the situation escalated and Malkin wound up at the bottom of a pile. Not good. If, say, enforcer Tom Sestito is in the lineup for the Penguins, it doesn’t deter the Jets from playing like they did.
So just win the game. The Penguins did, remember. Columbus will play the same way tonight. So play through it and win again.
That philosophy certainly worked last spring for the Penguins.