When the Pittsburgh Penguins saluted their city’s baseball team, the Pirates, for ending its 21-year postseason drought earlier this month, they played a friendly wiffle ball game on the ice at Consol Energy Center.
The game seemed like a bad idea at the time because it put players at risk for injury in a non-practice or game setting.
In hindsight, the Penguins should never have played wiffle ball, because according to ESPN 970 radio host David Todd, top-six winger James Neal‘s upper-body injury that has caused him to miss most of the season was suffered during this activity. The 26-year-old is currently listed as day-to-day on the injury report.
Losing Neal for any amount of time is a major setback to the Penguins’ ability to score goals at even strength and on the power play. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Neal leads the Penguins with 61 goals scored. He has spent most of his Pittsburgh career playing alongside superstar center Evgeni Malkin on the second line.
Check out the Penguins’ wiffle ball game in the video below.