MORNING SKATE BUZZ
The Pittsburgh Penguins won’t have Brooks Orpik tonight who has been placed on injured reserve due to a concussion and the team in all likelihood won’t have James Neal, but the Penguins should get Evgeni Malkin back tonight for tonight’s matchup vs the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Malkin who has missed the last two games due to a lower body injury, is a full participant in today’s morning skate, centering the Penguins second line and took full reps on the first power play unit, all signs he is a good bet to play tonight.
— James Neal joined the Penguins skate about 25 minutes late. He has a hearing with the Department of Player Safety this morning. A decision will be announced today and it would be a huge surprise if Neal is not suspended. The sense is that Neal gets 3-4 games.
— Something that’s been overshadowed is that Bruins center Chris Kelly suffered a broken fibula on a slash from Pascal Dupuis in Saturday’s game. The Bruins asked the league to review the incident but the league will be taking no action.
— Brian Dumoulin took third pairing reps during the morning skate. He is wearing No. 8. The Penguins will look to get him into some action during his callup, though, probably not tonight. Robert Bortuzzo a frequent scratch, has played just six times in the Penguins last 18 games, but is expected to dress tonight.
— 2013 Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is out multiple weeks and the Penguins will see Curtis McElhinney in goal. McElhinney has played well this season, going 2-3-1 with a 2.02 GAA and .932 save percentage. McElhinney has appeared in two games this season vs the Penguins, making 37 saves on 40 shots. Marc Andre Fleury will start for the Penguins.
— Rob Scuderi (ankle) and Tanner Glass (hand) both went through individual workouts prior to the morning skate. Don’t be surprised if both are practicing with the team mid-week.
— Joe Vitale will get another look at right wing, playing on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Chris Conner. I like what he brings to the table there.
PENGUINS LINES IN MORNING SKATE
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – Jason Megna
Chris Conner – Brandon Sutter – Joe Vitale
Chuck Kobasew – Zach Sill – Craig Adams
Olli Maatta – Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen – Deryk Engelland
Simon Despres – Robert Bortuzzo/ Brian Dumoulin