Monday, January 29, 2007

They're Heating Up, The Dads, Number 500 and the "New Fleury"

First of all, I want to apologize for laying low the last couple of days. I have been sick...dealing with horrible congestion, coughing, headache etc. Seems to be getting a bit better I am back with a vengeance!

What can be said about this past weekend's games aside from: amazing. The Penguins are really rounding into form and are one of the hottest teams in the league. They seem to have picked up right where they left off before the All-Star break. They are doing a lot of things right and are playing their system to perfection. Their special teams have been very impressive; especially the power play and they are getting contributions from top to bottom, even getting goals from Ronald Petrovicky, Max Talbot and Jarkko Ruutu during their road trip.

Mark Recchi has obviously been sipping from the fountain of youth, I guess playing with Sidney Crosby will do that for you. He has been amazing and is a big part of why the Penguins are in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. He notched his 500th career goal on Friday night and has picked up 13 points in his last 6 games (7G 6A). He is a point per game player right now, and is performing far beyond any expectation that anyone could have had for him prior to the season. With Sidney Crosby being the MVP of this team, Recchi is as close as anyone at making a run at 1B. Recchi has been a great team player and is becoming the mentor to the young core that many hoped he would be last season.

Sidney Crosby continues to do super human things and he seems completely effortless in doing them. What I mean by that is that he doesn't seem to be trying anything out of the ordinary. It is like I mentioned here in the past, it is just how he plays the game. He sees the ice like no other player and makes everyone around him better. He made a great pass to Ryan Malone Saturday night while in mid-air on his way to the ice after being tripped, but the most amazing thing was the goal he scored later in the game. Crosby picked up a loose puck that was headed into the right wing corner, and as he was falling twisted his body and snapped a backhand shot over goaltender Mikael Tellqvist's shoulder. How did he get the shot off, let alone score the goal? Those types of things are just a regular occurrence with this young man.

The Penguins Father/Son trip seems to have been a huge success. The Dads were along for the entire road trip and were able to watch their sons in situations that they normally wouldn't have been able to. They were invited to practice, had dinners with the team and had the opportunity to gold together in Phoenix Saturday morning. Most of the dads relished the opportunity to spend time with their sons in this capacity and were exciting to meet each other.

Some quotes from the dads...

Dan Whitney - Ryan Whitney

"It's been fantastic. It's been a wonderful experience and so nice of the Penguins to do this. Just to meet all the dads, they all have similar experiences, but they're from all over the world. (Ronald Petrovicky's) dad came from Slovakia, Nils Ekman's dad came from Sweden, then you've got Colby Armstrong's dad from Saskatoon. People came a long distance to spend this time with their kids. It's very special."

Henry Staal - Jordan Staal

"This is so much fun. It's fun to meet all the other dads, put a face to a name. You get to see where [the players] are, what they're doing, what their routine is. You get to become a part of it and see what goes on behind the scenes."

As I mentioned last week, I will get some player reaction about having their dads present this week...


Noah Welch is becoming the Marc Andre Fleury of this season; at least he seems to be shuttling between Wilkes Barre-Scranton and Pittsburgh as much as the young goaltender did a year ago. Welch was just sent back to WBS for the third time. Could Welch become trade bait? It is possible. I think he definitely has a future on the Penguins blue line, but there doesn't seem to be a place for him right now. If you can net a young winger, who happens to have a goal scoring pedigree, I think you do the deal.


Most people wonder if the Penguins will be active at the trade deadline. Well, I think that they just shored up one area of weakness by "acquiring" a tough, stay at home defenseman in getting Mark Eaton back. They essentially didn't have him after their 11th game of the season and have remained in the hunt. He will solidify a young defense that has been playing very well and adds a veteran shot blocking presence. Getting him back in the line-up is a psychological lift. Between he, Gonchar, Whitney and the group of effective role players that the Penguins boast this defense is no longer the laughing stock of the Eastern conference.


When the Penguins were in Dallas Friday night, Pittsburgh's own Mark Cuban took in the game and stopped in the locker room. He was seen with a white Evgeni Malkin jersey and got the young star to sign it. Could he have been admiring a future investment? Time will tell...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gaaaame On!!

I am very happy to announce that the Penguins get back to game action this evening in Dallas. It is definitely nice to have something "hockey" related to discuss. Seems that the only things I have been able to report to you lately have revolved around the ongoing arena negotiations, posturing, visiting other cities etc. I know that those stories are very important and the information has to get out there, but ultimately we are here to discuss hockey!

The Penguins went into the All Star break with an impressive 8-2 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their power play was clicking at 50% that night and everything seemed to be falling into place for the team. What will the week off do to that momentum? Unfortunately, it will probably derail it to some extent. The good thing is that all teams will be in the same boat.

While the Penguins are getting some people healthy tonight, Mark Eaton for one, the Dallas Stars are dealing with the injury bug. They have no less than 6 players listed on their injury report, including Sergei Zubov and former captain Mike Modano. Injuries aside, the Stars are 7-2-2 in their last 11 against Pittsburgh.

The game will mark the Penguins first trip to Dallas since March 2, 2003 and their first game against the Stars since March 9, 2004.

The Penguins will have their hands full with All-Star goaltender Marty Turco. He has not allowed an even strength goal in almost 200 minutes of play.

Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Ryan Whitney, and Evgeni Malkin remained in Dallas after the All-Star festivities and hooked up with the team when it arrived in Dallas.


Their fathers will join the Penguins on their current 2 game road trip. The Father/Son road trip is becoming more and more popular around the league. It allows the players and their fathers to bond on a different level. It is something that the Predators used to do and Ray Shero brought it with him to Pittsburgh. For most of the players and their fathers it is a once in a lifetime experience.

The Penguins players seem very excited about the opportunity. I will get some post trip reaction when they return to Pittsburgh next week.


Rail Cam. A lot has been said about it so far here and everywhere. I will say that I liked some of the shots it produced, however I do not want to see it zooming back and forth across the bottom of the screen. I wouldn't call it distracting, but I would call it annoying. Unless they find a better way, let's hope it goes the route of Fox's ill-fated glow puck.


A couple quick second half predictions:

Sidney Crosby continues his greatness and wins his first Art Ross Trophy. If the Penguins get to the playoffs, which I think they will, he also gets his first league MVP. A little bit of Hart for the kid with all the heart.

Marc Andre Fleury will continue to solidify his position as the Penguin's number one goaltender and steal some important points down the stretch for this team. This second half will cement his spot among the top 10 goaltenders in the league.

Evgeni Malkin will continue to pile up points. He has looked more comfortable over the last month and is becoming the NHL player that we all thought he would be. The "Malkin Montage" did not lie!

Jordan Staal completes his dream season and becomes a 20-goal scorer in the NHL at the age of 18.

Post some of your predictions and keep the comments and thoughts coming!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Two Lines Drawn in the Sand...Interesting New Twist...

Mario Lemieux went public with some comments yesterday that have pushed the Penguins arena situation from hopeful to bleak. Le Magnifique went on record as saying, "I heard it wasn't very good. Our people were offended and very disappointed. Now, as always, we have to go out and explore our options. Once we find a deal we like, we'll sign it up" Lemieux said. "A few weeks ago, I said 30 days, and we're getting very close to that. Sooner or later, we're just going to make a decision and go with it. Whatever happens, happens."

Bill Daly also backed the sentiment saying, "Don't think the league won't allow this team to move. If they don't have a viable arena plan, it would be wrong for us to make the franchise stay there."

Of course this rains heavily on the parade of thinking that had been surfacing over the last two weeks...the thinking that a deal in Pittsburgh was imminent. (As a side note, I hate to use the term imminent. Ever since Mr. Hradek said something a little while back about a deal being imminent.) Does this mean a deal is not in the works? Maybe, but maybe it is something else.

Could it be the logical answer to some initial salvos that were fired by Governor Rendell last week? The Governor made some remarks that were backed up by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl that touted the greatness of the deal offered the Penguins. "I believe the offer we put before the Penguins is the best of any offer that's been made to any NHL team for a new stadium in recent times and it's also by far the best of any offer made to any Pennsylvania professional sports team for a new stadium."

At the time I told anyone who would listen that the local government was drawing a line in the sand, one that they could use when or if the Penguins decided to leave. Ravenstahl even went so far as to say, "At the end of the day, we will know that we did everything we could to keep the Penguins." Something that they have been trying to set up for quite some time. Something that would paint Mario Lemieux the bad guy in a bad situation.

I can't see Lemieux going public with these comments while the two sides were still essentially exchanging information if it hadn't been provoked. The Governor has said that this deal would not be negotiated in the media, yet he went straight to the microphone the minute the Penguins didn't immediately accept the proposal.

The two sides can’t be that far apart and I still feel that there is a deal to be made in Pittsburgh that can suit all parties. Let's just hope that they can come to a resolution before we arrive at the deadline set by Mario Lemieux. It would be a crime to have come so close to saving the franchise only to have it slip away at the 11th hour.


Stan Savran of ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Pittsburgh floated a story last night on his Sportsbeat television show stating that some of the minority investors in the Penguins may be willing to buy Mario Lemieux out. He clarified the scenario today on a local radio show.

Six of the minority investors in the team have already committed at least $10 million dollars towards a buy out and are looking for several others to join them.

Their plan is to buy out Mario Lemieux and keep the team in Pittsburgh. This group may or may not have contacted Ron Burkle. They also seem to be satisfied with the terms of Plan B as stated in the past meetings.

This is by no means a lock to happen, but I thought it was an interesting story. I will caution that Stan has had some ties to the Democratic Party in the past and almost ran for public office. I do not think he would compromise his ideals to aid the political agenda though. He is a big Penguin guy and has been for close to 30 years.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Penguins 8 Leafs 2 - Final

What a way to head into the All Star break. The Penguins dominated the Leafs throughout the game. When the tough stuff started the Penguins didn't back down, they supported each other, and actually had the upper hand on some pretty tough guys...

Evgeni Malkin had a career night with 5 helpers and has really found his game. Like I mentioned earlier in the week, he is starting to look like what I was expecting and it is amazing!

Jordan Staal is 18...just thought I would mention it, because you would never know it by watching his game. To think that there was a question if he should stay in the league this season. What he has done is nothing short of unbelievable. Staal was great before, but he has found a home on Malkin's wing.

We saw why Ray Shero signed Jarkko Ruutu tonight and I liked it...

Chris Thorburn is on the fast track to being one of the toughest guys in the league. Great work tonight in sticking up for his teammates.

Sergei Gonchar quietly added 3 more assists tonight giving him 36 points on the year...8 behind league defensive scoring leader Scott Niedermayer.

Let's not forget about Sidney Crosby, who went about his business and picked up another 3-point night. (1G 2A) He was kept on the bench for the last 4 minutes of the game after things began to get a bit chippy. No point risking the health of your super star in a blow out win.

Last but not least, Marc Andre Fleury was great again tonight. As I stated a few weeks ago, he is going to have a huge second half. He could be the one last great thing that Craig Patrick did for the organization. I know that we always say how anyone could have picked the Crosbys and the Malkins etc, but he actually had to trade up to get this young goaltender and passed on a couple of very good players in doing so (Eric Staal, Nathan Horton to name a couple). MA has really started to look like a number one goaltender in the NHL and is only getting better.

Next up for your Pittsburgh Penguins...Staal, Whitney and Malkin take the ice in the Young Stars extravaganza Tuesday night in Dallas...Sid gets back to work Wednesday. The rest of the team will join them there on Friday for a game against the Stars.


The Penguins had plenty of jump right from the start, but found themselves down 1-0...then the floodgates opened for them.

The team has been very sharp; their passes tape to tape. Toronto has taken a lot of penalties and the Penguins have made them pay for them. The Flightless Bird is 3-6 after 2. Mark Recchi has notched a hat trick, giving him 498 in his career. Could 500 come tonight, they way the puck is going in for him anything is possible.

Evgeni Malkin is having another very strong game. He has been all over the ice and has notched 2 assists. He and Jordan Staal continue to show the strong chemistry that we have seen in the past couple of games. Actually, the entire teams looks very cohesive. Michel Therrien has finally found the line combinations that he has been looking for. Very balanced...

This evening is a very nice way to head into the All Star break....more after the game...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Horrible Loss, Melichar Hurt, Welch Recalled...

The Penguins did not show up for their game against the Panthers last night. However, a group of guys in Penguins uniforms did take the ice and proceed to get knocked all over the place in losing 5-2.

The Penguins were hit early and often and couldn't match Florida's intensity. Michel Therrien changed his lines in hopes of generating more offense, but the attempt failed. He split Crosby and Malkin but neither was a huge factor in the game. Crosby had a few chances and Malkin scored a garbage goal off of a rebound but the team was not able to beat Alex Auld more than twice.

This team needs to play physical to win games and they did not hit nearly enough last night. There were times during the contest where the Penguins did ramp up the physical play a bit, and they were able to generate some turnovers, which translated into scoring chances. They just could not sustain those flashes and lost two more valuable Eastern Conference points to a team that was behind them in the standings.

We will see if a trip to Philadelphia, a team the Penguins have beaten 5 times this year, can pull them out of their funk.


Josef Melichar sustained a leg injury last night. The Penguins have recalled AHL All Star Noah Welch to replace him in the line-up.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sidney Crosby, Lightning Strikes Twice and Shootout Woes...

It was made official last night, Sidney Crosby will start the all-star game in his second season in the league. Crosby was not only named a starter, but was the leading vote getter among all players. I had been hoping to see what he and AO could do together on a line and we will get a least for about 30 seconds after the drop of the puck. There is no guarantee that the two will play together throughout the game.

I find it hard to come up with new ways to explain the greatness that is Sidney Crosby. It is one thing to see the numbers on paper and assume he is an elite player. It is a completely different thing to watch him play night in and night out. The only way to say it is to call it a blessing for hockey fans in Pittsburgh. The scoring and playmaking is amazing, but just watching him shift to shift and seeing the little things he does, scoring chances that the creates that no one sees, because there isn't a proven finisher to knock them home, his defensive prowess, skating and reflexes. Crosby has one of the fastest first steps in the game, and his legs are tree trunks.

One of the most unbelievable things at this point is that when he does something completely mind blowing, he doesn't even realize it. It is just how he plays the game. When Crosby is asked about a particular play that is going to end up on Sports Center's list at the end of the night, he seems to be surprised he is even being asked about it. Pretty much saying that he saw an opportunity and tried to make a play or set up a teammate.

For example, his comments after the goal against Tampa Bay on Sunday that has been replayed numerous times since, one in which he chose to go to his knees to see a pass from Mark Recchi, slid past a defender got his stick on the puck and knocked it home. "I tried to go on my knees, so I could find where the puck was coming from," he said. "I got a better look at the puck and it was going a little bit ahead, so I just reached for it." Makes it sound like I would in telling you about brushing my teeth.

I shutter to think what this kid will be when he is 25. Remember that the league's leading scorer is 19 years old! That completely blows my mind. I am not ready to say Crosby is better than some of the all time greats, but as someone who had the privilege of watching Mario Lemieux's entire career unfold, he is doing things at 18 and 19 that we saw Mario and Wayne do at 20 and 21. If he remains healthy throughout his career the sky is the limit. I have said this before, but players like Sidney Crosby are once in a lifetime. Many people I talk to lament the fact that they didn't pay much attention to Mario Lemieux until after his comeback and kick themselves for it. Don't make the same mistake with this amazing talent.


The Tampa Bay Lightning continued their dominance of the Penguins during a home and home series that ended with a 3-2 Penguins loss last night in Tampa.

The usual suspects played big parts in the victories, Vinny Prospal, Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier...however none was bigger than Johan Holmqvist was. The young goaltender played great in both games against the Penguins. Though the Penguins didn't have the jump that they had during wins against Toronto, Carolina and Buffalo, they still worked hard throughout both contests. They very well could have earned a W in either game, but came up short in large part because of the hot goaltender they faced.

Tampa Bay has dominated the Penguins over the past couple of seasons, but the Birds will have another crack at redemption February 25.


The of the most exciting events in professional sports. Not if you a Pittsburgh Penguin. The Penguins have a stable of capable candidates to utilize during shootouts, a group that should strike fear in most goaltenders. However, that just isn't the case. It doesn't matter if it is Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Mark Recchi or Sergei Gonchar taking the opportunity, the results is almost predetermined: Shoot Out Loss.

What is the issue? More specifically, what is the issue with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? I know both are very capable players when it comes to on one situations with the goaltender.

I think that it is a combination of things. The most telling is the lack of speed at which these players are approaching the opposing goaltender. During regulation play, the duo flies into the offensive zone at breakneck speeds and has success doing it. When Sidney Crosby comes through the neutral zone with speed, he looks like a rattle snake ready to strike and can laser a shot past a goaltender 9 of 10 times, just ask Antero Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers. The same goes for Malkin, look at the goal he scored earlier in the season against the Boston Bruins to tie a game late. He took a loose puck and moved into the zone with speed, rifling a shot past Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.

When it comes to the shoot out, they cruise in slowly, without confidence. Dipsy doodling around before trying a last minute move that usually results in an easy save for the goaltender. To say that these two lack confidence on the shootout may sound crazy, but it is true at this point. They seem to be over thinking what they are going to do and commit to what they intend to do early.

In my estimation, the goaltender has the advantage in a shoot out situation. As long as he waits for the shooter to commit, he typically can make the save. The key for the shooter is to read and react against the goaltender. Make him make the first move, deke around him and score the goal.

The Penguins practice the shoot out on a regular basis, with people like Ryan Whitney and Jordan Staal having a high level of success. Maybe the Penguins should consider some personnel changes on the shoot out while Sid and Geno build some confidence in the daily practice sessions.

One bright spot has been the play of Marc Andre Fleury. The shoot out seemed to be his Achilles heel, but he has been much better in them as of late. The bad thing for Fleury is that until his team can start to score in the extra, extra frame, he will need to be perfect.


The Penguins will face the Florida Panthers this evening. Yet another team that tends to give them headaches...each Eastern Conference game is a 4-point affair and is must win. The Penguins are in the hunt for a playoff spot, but need as many points against the teams around them in standings as possible.

Hopefully the team can rebound from back to back losses against the Lightning and get back in the W column.


Jonathan Filewich and Noah Welch will represent the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins in the AHL All Star game.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hmm, The Penguins Actually Play Hockey Too!

I know that it didn't really seem like it over the past couple of days, but the Penguins do actually play some hockey. What has also been lost in the shuffle is the fact that they are coming off of two very impressive victories against opponents that tend to give them headaches. The team played what was probably its best game of the season Tuesday night against the Hurricanes.

What has the team done differently during the past two games that they hadn't done prior? Well, let's start with penalty killing. The team is still taking too many penalties, twelve during the streak, but has killed them all off. Max Talbot, Jordan Staal, Sergei Gonchar, Josef Melichar and Rob Scuderi have led the way. I would also like to point out that Colby Armstrong may not be scoring like the team thought he would, but he has been playing a very responsible game and logging plenty of time on the PK.

The team has also been blocking shots at a break-neck pace, something that they had struggled with since Mark Eaton went down earlier in the season. Penguin players have blocked 40 shots in the past 2 games, an astonishing total. They have put together two of the finest defensive efforts I have seen in quite some time.

They are also finding ways to manufacture goals. Of course that is a bit easier with Sidney Crosby on your team, however Cam Ward played a whale of a game Tuesday and still lost 3-0. Aside from the Whitney deflection goal, I really think that he could have been one of the three stars. When you are finding ways to beat hot goaltenders, you are doing something right in the goal-scoring department. That exact situation is where the Penguins have lost 1-0 or 2-0 after an empty netter in the past. They didn't allow it to happen.

Great goaltending from Marc Andre Fleury is not being wasted. He has played two of the finest games of his career and allowed only 1 goal during the streak. The more confident MA gets, the harder he is to beat. Notice he isn't making that many highlight real saves either; he doesn't have to anymore. Gilles Meloche has worked long and hard to teach him to be in better position. If your entire body is in front of the puck, you do not have to make spectacular stops all of the time. The shooter ends up hitting you. I look for him to have a very strong second half.

The Penguins will face a very tough test over the weekend. They have to travel to Buffalo tonight to meet the Sabres, who have given the Penguins fits over the past couple seasons. Not to mention, they are the beasts of the east this year. They will then head into a home and home series against the Tampa Bay Lightning beginning Sunday in Pittsburgh. You all know that Vinny will get his points in those two games, he always does! When the Penguins thought they were going to hold him off of the board in an earlier match up this season, all he did was steal the puck in OT and score the game winner on a break away.

All of the things I mentioned above will have to stay consistent for the team to pick up these 6 points. A win tonight will get them on the right track.


Do not forget the Save the Pens rally happening outside Gate 1 at Mellon Arena Sunday afternoon. It begins at 3:00pm prior to the game against the Lightning. Come out and support your Pittsburgh Penguins...if you need extra incentive, it is also Evgeni Malkin Bobblehead night!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Meeting Ends with Pa Officials...

Mario Lemieux seemed more optimistic than I can remember him being in some time about the prospects of the team staying in Pittsburgh. After the meeting he mention being very impressed with what he heard, and being optimistic of the prospects of reaching an agreement in Pittsburgh.

Lemieux said that the officials addressed issues that went back 7 years in the process. He also said that he had "two great meetings today."

He specifically said: "I'm very optimistic after the meeting with the Officials in Pittsburgh today, it was a very positive meeting." He went on to mention that more meetings would be necessary, but was impressed.

Ed Rendell also said that he was "very hopeful and optimistic that the deal would be accepted by the Penguins."

Onorato and Ravenstal remain optimistic as well, though future meetings have not been scheduled as of yet.

This is the best news so far in a dark process...I will write a more complete blog about this later, but wanted to get you guys the latest. Especially for out of town fans, since the news is actually doing a decent job of covering this in town...

Into the Great Wide Open...

Mario Lemieux and Penguins officials will meet with members of local and state government this afternoon in downtown Pittsburgh. I am hoping that both sides come ready to negotiate in good faith. Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Executive, has been the most vocal leading up to the meeting and has stated that he is "cautiously optimistic" about the prospects of coming to an agreement.

As we know, the Penguins were in Kansas City over night and have met with Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group. They were given the opportunity to see the $276 million Sprint Center that would be available for the start of the 2007-08 season. Is the KC deal very enticing? I am sure it is to some extent, however, the potential earnings in a new arena in Pittsburgh could be more lucrative.

In Kansas City, the Penguins would have to buy in with $27 million dollars. That would get them 50 percent of all revenue generated by the Sprint Center, with AEG getting the rest. The officials in Pa are dangling all of the revenue generated by a new facility in Pittsburgh to keep the Penguins viable. Some experts are saying that could be upwards of $20 million per year. Whatever the total ends up being, getting all as opposed to half of the pie is always a bit more attractive. In the end, the yearly revenues received by the Penguins from a new facility in Pittsburgh would more than offset the contribution to construction costs over the 30 years called for in Plan B. Will that be enough to entice the team to stay? That is yet to be determined. (Penguins contribution in Pittsburgh: $8.5 million up front, $4 million yearly for 30 years, with $1.1 coming from naming rights bringing Pens yearly contribution to $2.9 million.)

The main difference between the two situations right now is getting a free arena in Kansas City, as opposed to having to contribute to one in Pittsburgh. With KC boasting more Lemieux business associates and Pittsburgh offering more possible revenue. What will win out? Will Mario's connection to "Boots" Del Biaggio give KC an advantage? These are all questions that will be answered in the coming weeks.

The Penguins have stood firm by their statement about examining all of their options, and may still look at some other locations such as Oklahoma City, Houston, Portland, Winnipeg, Las Vegas and Hartford.

Hartford Mayor, Eddie A. Perez, has written a two-page letter to Mario Lemieux expressing his desire to have the Penguins relocate to his town.

The Penguins seem to be the belle of the ball and have no shortage of suitors at this point. This is going to get a lot more interesting before it is resolved. Let’s hope that when the Penguins youth gets to raise their first banner, which seems like a good bet in the near future, that it is on Pittsburgh.


The Penguins have finally ended their silence in regard to Nils Ekman. He has been diagnosed with a dislocated elbow and is expected to miss extensive time with the injury. The MRI that he had this week revealed significant damage to the elbow. No surgery is scheduled at this point, but he may be lost for the season.