The Latest Penguins Buzz
*I’m told the Penguins are optimistic that Evgeni Malkin will be available to return to the lineup Tuesday night against the New York Rangers. Malkin has missed the past three games with a knee issue and now has a so-called sinus infection.
Tests done multiple times over the past 8 weeks have shown no structural damage to Malkin’s knee, which continues to bother him on and off but the injury is not considered serious by any means and is something he can play with.
The Penguins return to practice Monday afternoon at 2:01 p.m. and sense is Malkin should be a full participant.
*Things are said to progressing slowly for Sidney Crosby but he’s moving in the direction of where he should be cleared to conduct some “mild” dryland activities any day now, sources say. The Penguins have played just two games this season with Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby all in the lineup.
*Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review had a good article this morning on Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland. As i mentioned in my post game Penguins-Hurricanes report, Lovejoy is winning playing time from Engelland and is emerging as the Penguins No. 6 defenseman in the eyes of contacts I’ve spoken with.
The Penguins coaching staff is still drawn to players with the ability to move the puck and while Lovejoy’s not great by any means in that area, he has an edge over Engelland but it’s Lovejoy’s defensive play that has given him the clear edge of the late.
The Penguins I’m told feel Lovejoy meshes better with Goligoski and his shot blocking ability appears to have caught the eye of the staff.
However, it’s just been interesting how it’s played out for Engelland who signed a three year extension in Janauary and it wasn’t so long ago when Dan Bylsma was quoted following a practice in November where he felt Engelland had top-4 capabilities.
*The Penguins showing no interest in discussing an extension with Max Talbot at this time will bring Talbot’s name onto the trade rumor circuit as executives around the league know that the Penguins have to clear a salary if they want to bring in winger help at the trade deadline.
For now though, I’m told not to read much into Talbot’s situation. We’ll see…
*Sense from scouts is Arron Asham’s going to become a factor on this team in the stretch run like he was Philadelphia last season.