News and Notes
The Penguins were hopeful to play their most likely regular season lineup against the Detroit Red Wings in their pre-season finale on Sunday but that’s not going to happen due to injuries and position battles still going on.
Sidney Crosby, Brooks Orpik and Arron Asham will be among the regulars who will sit out tonight’s game.
*Brooks Orpik who is sidelined with a groin injury that the Penguins say is not related to his hernia surgery from the summer, has not skated since Tuesday’s practice and did not travel with the team this weekend.
The Penguins open up the season Thursday night at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. Head coach Dan Bylsma expects Orpik to be ready to go for the opener.
However, Orpik and likely D-partner Zbynek Michalek have not had much practice time or game time together. That will be a focus this week when the team begins full preparations for the regular season on Monday.
*Sidney Crosby remains sidelined with a hip flexor injury. The injury is sore and Crosby will be off the ice again today.
The Penguins don’t expect him to miss anytime at the start of the regular season.
Crosby though continues to be bothered by nagging lower body injuries and that likely won’t change due to how hard he plays in games and practices.
Some have said Crosby may eventually have to tone it down in practice but it’s hard to imagine him complying with that.
*As of late Saturday night, the extent of Arron Asham’s injury was still not known according to a source close to Asham. The rugged winger left Friday’s game after only two shifts. He has what is being described as some “discomfort” in his shoulder area.
The Penguins are confident the injury is not a long-term one but source close to Asham wasn’t ready to comfirm that when asked on Saturday. Asham is expected to be further evaluated Monday morning by team doctors in Pittsburgh.
*While Sidney Crosby and Arron Asham won’t play today against Detroit, it opens up opportunities for the Penguins to get another look at players on the bubble.
Top winger prospect Eric Tangradi is expected to see significant time with Mike Comrie and Evgeni Malkin tonight. The organization continues to mull what to do with Tangradi and a decision at least internally is expected to be made by Monday afternoon.
There is believed to be conflicting opinions among the Penguins brass with internal sources saying the coaching staff is in favor of Tangradi opening the season in Pittsburgh, while some members of the front office believe he can still benefit from playing in Wilkes Barre.
The Penguins have to get their roster down to 23 players by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Other notable lineup notes include defenseman Ben Lovejoy who will be back in the lineup and is looking to solidify the No. 6 defenseman spot. Despite inconsistent play in camp, Lovejoy remains the front runner to win the job.