On a five game losing streak, head coach Dan Bylsma didn’t give his team a break after back-to-back losses, putting the Penguins went through a 75 minute workout today at Mellon Arena.
Bylsma has talked in recent days how the lack of practices has played a part in the Penguins struggles but with the Olympics on the horizon, all 30 teams are going through the same thing.
*Defenseman Sergei Gonchar was at the facility getting treatment and working out but did not skate. Gonchar will likely miss his third consecutive game Tuesday night against Atlanta. The Penguins remain confident that Gonchar will return this week.
*Dan Bylsma made more changes on his top two lines today as Michael Rupp skated with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko. Rupp, however, was injured near the end of practice after taking a puck to the face. He is fine and just got a couple stitches.
Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby centered Bill Guerin and Pascal Dupuis on the top line.
Dan Bylsma was clearly sending a message to winger Chris Kunitz today as Kunitz took a number of shifts on the 4th line with Max Talbot and Craig Adams/Eric Godard.
In fact, when Michael Rupp left practice, Max Talbot joined Evgeni Malkin on the second line not Kunitz. Bylsma has done things like this recently in practice, for example demoting Ruslan Fedotenko for a practice then putting him right back on the top-2 lines.
There is word that Kunitz is a strong candidate to sit tomorrow night.
Kunitz has 6 goals and 14 assists in 30 games played this season.
For the majority of shifts, here were today’s lines
Dupuis – Crosby – Guerin
Rupp – Malkin – Fedotenko
Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
Kunitz – Talbot – Adams/Godard
*The Penguins will wear their 3rd jerseys Tuesday night against Atlanta. Brent Johnson will start in goal.