- The Washington Times - Monday, March 25, 2002

Seen and heard last night at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh:
NO GONCH Defenseman Sergei Gonchar missed the game, and it is not known when he will be back. He sustained a concussion Thursday night when Toronto forward Darcy Tucker vaulted into the air and collided with Gonchar, nailing him in the head with an elbow.
"It could be two days, it could be two months. We just don't know," general manager George McPhee said. "He'll play when he's ready, but this is one of those things where you just can't predict when he'll be back."
Gonchar was the league's top-scoring defenseman (23 goals, 55 points) when he was injured, but he has since been caught by Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom.
Gonchar is scheduled to see a neurologist today in Washington to determine the extent of the injury. He has not been on skates since he was hit 10:56 into the third period. He tried to ride a stationary bicycle Saturday but did not last five minutes; he lasted longer on the bike yesterday.
Tucker was suspended for two games as a result of the incident.
BAD SEASON The Penguins are going through a nightmare of a season as far as injuries are concerned. The team has lost 259 man-games to injury, but it's not the number that is significant; it's who has been out or continues to be sidelined.
For instance, Mario Lemieux, the team owner and captain around whom the club built its season ticket campaign, has missed 45 games with various hip-related injuries and is done for the season.
Center Robert Lang, the subject of considerable trade discussion before the deadline passed, missed nine games with a broken hand. He returned to action Saturday against Philadelphia and broke the same hand. He's done for the season.
Center Martin Straka missed 58 games with various ailments, including a broken leg. He returned after the leg healed and broke it again in the first period of his comeback. He's done for the season.
Wayne Primeau, another center, played 33 games until he had reconstructive knee surgery in January. He's done for the season.
Dave Fay



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