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Insider Only Pens Buzz: Staal, Martin off top power play unit; Kovalev to work the point vs Habs


Asham very close to being cleared for practice

Can Arron Asham work his way back into the top-12? The 32 year old winger has been free of post-concussion symptoms for over a week now and is expected to be cleared to practice with his teammates, following the weekend.
Once Asham gets cleared to return to game action (likely a week away), it remains unclear whether the coaching staff will look to open a spot for him.
Asham who was injured against the Rangers on Feb 1., has appeared in 36 games this season, collecting 5 goals and 10 points. He can still be a factor for this team, especially in the playoffs.
Staff makes changes to top power play unit

To no surprise, changes have been made to the Penguins top power play unit in the wake of tomorrow’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens.
Off the top unit is Jordan Staal, Paul Martin and Tyler Kennedy.
Against the Canadiens, Alex Kovalev will run the right point with Kris Letang at the left point and Chris Kunitz, Mark Letestu and James Neal playing down low.
James Neal is back on the first unit after being on the second unit Tuesday night aganst Buffalo.
Martin, Staal, Rupp, Kennedy and Jeffrey will be among those who will work the second unit. Look for Jeffrey to get some looks at the right point.
Johnson expected to start one of the weekend games
With three games in four days, including back-to-back afternoon games this weekend, Brent Johnson is expected to start in 1 of the next 3 games.
With Johnson’s birthday tomorrow, will turn 34, Bylsma was asked if he’s inclined to play Johnson because it’s his birthday. He said “possibly” but it’s hard to imagine Fleury not getting the start against Montreal.
I’d look for Johnson to start Sunday afternoon against Edmonton.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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