Sergei Gonchar Returns to Full Practice

2.2.09 Posted by Black n Gold
sergei gonchar roster photoSince that fatefull day back in September, Pens fans have long awaited the return of Gonch to the lineup.  Monday was another large step in the comeback.  Gonchar was cleared by team medical staff to participate in full contact drills.  Sergei has been skating for the last couple of weeks but this marked the first day he could get to building back his punishing physical style.

This news comes at a dire time.  We are on the verge of it potentially being too late.  As Sidney Crosby mentioned in an interview following the All Star break; "The playoffs start now for us."  The leadership Gonchar brings is noticibly missed as made apparent by the lackluster performances our talented D have put on.  Communication, commrodery and passion are the intrinsic attributes a playoff-bound defensive unit posess.  Sergei's influence isn't news to any of us, which is why he was requested to join the team in the locker room before he was even skating again.  Hopefully being on the ice and participation from the time tested star is just what our D needs.  The past few games have been absolutely dreadful for the defense.  Even when the offense is firing on all cylinders, giving up quick goals deflates any momentum we build.  It even makes Fleury look bad back there.  Sure it's taken Flower a little time to get back in the groove, but when they are practically inviting other teams to take position in front of the net, no goalie is going to look good.

Sergei's return has been a milestone on our minds throughout the season, now the end is in sight.  No matter what happens between now and when he's in the lineup again, we can be sure that he will give it all he's got.  A veteran leader like Gonchar can lead by example and help re-unite our defense to the calliber we've come to expect.  All we have to do is hope that we can play well enough to stay alive until then.

sergei gonchar sidney crosby practice
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