A few afternoon quick hits
— The Penguins will bring up defenseman Brian Strait who is expected to be in the lineup tomorrow night against Carolina. With a need for a left handed defenseman in the lineup, Strait will get the call over Robert Bortuzzo.
— Just about an hour after holding his media session, Pens GM Ray Shero was on the radio with Mark Madden of 105.9 The X, at the 4:00 p.m. hour and Shero again mentioned that adding a top-6 defenseman is not a priority.
Shero hinted at going with internal options unless the right deal comes about. It doesn’t sound like the Penguins are actively exploring the market for a defenseman.
— With Orpik expected back before the playoffs and Paul Martin’s return just a few days away, the Penguins at least right now don’t see a pressing need.
— The Penguins I’m told see Matt Niskanen as a potential long-term fit. They fully believe in him being a top-6 guy for this season and see more in him that the Dallas Stars did.

— Alexei Kovalev will be in the lineup tomorrow night and there are no visa issues with him.
— Dustin Jeffrey will participate in tomorrow’s morning skate and could be cleared to play Friday night.
— Chris Kunitz appeared closer to returning a few days ago. He’s progressing but is about a week away now.
Mark Letestu is not expected to play this weekend.