Injury shelves Pens Redhot Rookie
Jake Guentzel had been living the dream. The 22-year-old broke into the NHL with the Penguins this season, got to play with arguably two of the best players in the league in Crosby and Malkin, and managed to step his game up to a level where he locked down a spot in Pittsburg’s top six forwards.
But on March 22nd Guentzel took a hard hit from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and had to leave the game immediately. He hasn’t been on the ice since, sidelined with concussion symptoms.
Yet another blow to the Penguins lineup heading down the stretch to the post-season, Guentzel is yet another young offensive weapon down with the injury bug. The rookie has had an outstanding run with the Pens, despite his small sample size. The 2013 third-round draft pick has 11 goals and fourteen assists for 25 points in 35 games.
When speaking with the media about his return, Guentzel said: "I'm not really sure yet. Just going to take it day by day and see how I feel". Concussions are notoriously hard to timetable returns from, Guentzel’s status will have to remain day-to-day.
The Penguins will face the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, March 29th with up to nine players out due to injury. Guentzel, Conor Sheary, Tom Testito, Evgeni Malkin, Ron Hainsey and Carl Haglin have all gone down in March alone. Fortunately, all of those but Hainsey listed as Day-to-day.