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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 2:22 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

New Jersey's Josefson out 3-4 months

PITTSBURGH – New Jersey Devils center Jacob Josefson could be sidelined for three-to-four months after undergoing surgery to repair a broken right clavicle that occurred in the first period of a 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose on Friday.
Josefson lost his footing as he carried the puck toward the net and, with both Jamie McGinn and Dan Boyle reaching for the puck with their sticks, crashed hard into the end boards. Josefson skated off the ice without assistance but immediately went to the Devils' dressing room.
“I watched the replay and you could tell the way his body was when he went in, he was going to get hurt," linemate Nick Palmieri said Saturday. “It's unfortunate, but he was trying to make a play and he did – he made a nice play. But skating fast, just the little bump was enough to knock him off balance and it's tough to recover. It's scary to see."
Josefson also was hurt against the Sharks last season, missing two months after tearing a ligament in his right thumb.
To replace Josefson, the Devils called up forward Adam Henrique from Albany of the American Hockey League. Henrique didn't have a point in the first two games of the season with the Devils earlier this season and had an assist in three games with Albany.
“He's a very capable center and I think we're pretty comfortable with him in the lineup," Palmieri said following an optional morning skate. “We're going to miss [Josefson] on our line, but I think Adam can step in and do the job."
The Devils already were without center Travis Zajac, who had surgery Aug. 18 to repair a torn Achilles' tendon.
Pittsburgh will be without center Evgeni Malkin (right knee soreness) for the fifth consecutive game and the seventh time in 10 games. He was ruled out by coach Dan Bylsma after taking part in the morning skate.
The likely lineups:

Zach ParisePatrik Elias – Petr Sykora
Ilya KovalchukDainius Zubrus - Nick Palmieri
Mattias TedenbyAdam HenriqueDavid Clarkson
Eric BoultonRod PelleyBrad Mills
Andy GreeneAdam Larsson
Bryce SalvadorAnton Volchenkov
Henrik TallinderMark Fayne
With Martin Brodeur still out with an injured shoulder, former Penguins goalie Johan Hedberg will be in net. Keith Kinkaid will be the backup.

Chris KunitzJordan StaalPascal Dupuis
Steve SullivanRichard ParkJames Neal
Matt CookeJoe VitaleArron Asham
Steve MacIntyreDustin JeffreyCraig Adams
Coach Dan Bylsma rotated his seven defensemen during the morning skate, now that Kris Letang has returned from his two-game suspension for a boarding violation. Bylsma said the pairings would be a game-time decision.

Paul MartinZbynek Michalek
Brooks OrpikKris Letang
Matt Niskanen or Ben LovejoyDeryk Engelland
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will start after losing a shutout in the final two minutes of a 3-1 decision over Montreal on Thursday. Brent Johnson will back him up.
Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 12:01 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Still no Malkin for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Star center Evgeni Malkin will miss a fifth consecutive game Saturday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins take on division rival New Jersey at Consol Energy Center.
Malkin, bothered by soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, went through a full practice Friday -- creating optimism he might be ready to return. But after Malkin went through the morning skate -- during which he and Sidney Crosby manned the points on the power point during one drill -- coach Dan Bylsma ruled him out.
Malkin hasn't played since getting two assists during Pittsburgh's 3-2 overtime loss to Washington on Oct. 13. He has a goal and 3 assists in three games but, if he sits out the Devils' game, will have missed seven of Pittsburgh's first 10 games.
Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy (concussion) will be out for a fourth consecutive game. He must be symptom-free before he can return, and Bylsma has not speculated when that might be.
The Penguins, the NHL's most active team this season, are 5-2-2 and have earned at least a point in all but two of nine games. They will be playing their fourth game in six nights. New Jersey is 3-1-1 following a 4-3 shootout loss Friday to San Jose, which scored the tying goal in the final minute of regulation.
Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 6:13 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Students get surprise delivery from Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Hundreds of college and high school students who waited in line for up to seven hours for discount tickets to the Canadiens-Penguins game on a blustery, chilly day got a surprise: free hot drinks and pizza, courtesy of the Penguins.

Even better was who delivered the goodies: general manager Ray Shero, coach Dan Bylsma and five players.

On a late October day that had a wintry feel to it, Shero and Bylsma handed out cups of hot chocolate at mid-afternoon as the students waited patiently outside Consol Energy Center. A couple of hours later, players Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Arron Asham and Deryk Engelland played pizza man and doled out slices of hot pizza.

A hockey game and dinner, all for $25. Not a bad deal.

While the Penguins have 9,000 fans on their season ticket waiting list, they set aside several hundred tickets for each game at sold-out Consol for the Student Rush program. The number of student tickets available was bumped up to 500 for the Canadiens, one of five such games this season in which the extra seats will be sold.

The Penguins make the pizza giveaway an annual event, but do not publicize in advance which game will be selected.

Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 2:30 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Crosby happy with Shanahan's consistency

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins star Sidney Crosby, still idled by a concussion, is pleased with the consistency of new NHL Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan's disciplinary rulings.
Crosby, out since sustaining a concussion in early January, and the Penguins are lobbying for the elimination of dangerous hits to the head. With the season less than a month old, Crosby believes Shanahan's rulings are helping make the game safer, yet are preserving most of the fan-pleasing hitting.
"I think it's been good," Crosby said. "He's looked at each situation individually. I think everything has been pretty well thought out, and the same message has been continued throughout and been consistent. And that's important. We still see some pretty big hits out there."
The Penguins didn't protest when star defenseman Kris Letang drew a two-game suspension for driving Jets forward Alex Burmistrov into the boards Monday in Winnipeg -- even though it further depleted an injury-weakened lineup. Letang will serve the second game of that suspension tonight when the Penguins play Montreal.
Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 1:09 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canadiens, Penguins

Here's what the lineups could look like when the Montreal Canadiens meet the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in Pittsburgh.
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin didn't reveal his lines after the morning skate and has been juggling them regularly. But with LW Mike Cammalleri unexpectedly set to return despite having a cut on his leg, he seems certain to go onto the top line centered by Tomas Plekanec. Cammalleri had been expected to miss a few more games.
Cammalleri, who sat out three games, had 3 goals and 1 assist in three games against Pittsburgh last season. In 2010, he had 7 goals as the Canadiens upset the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Penguins will be without C Evgeni Malkin (right knee) for a fourth consecutive game, and F Tyler Kennedy (concussion) will miss his third in a row. D Brooks Orpik (sports hernia) will play for the first time this season despite getting minimal practice time during training camp and missing all of the preseason and the Penguins' first eight games.
Penguins F James Neal, who has 6 goals in eight games, did not take part in the morning skate, but coach Dan Bylsma expects him to play. Bylsma said Neal was given the morning off.
Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Erik Cole
Mathieu Darche - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Andrei Kostitsyn
Travis Moen - Andreas Engqvist - Lars Eller
Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz
Alexei Emelin - Yannick Weber
Carey Price starts in goal.
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Arron Asham
Steve Sullivan - Richard Park - James Neal
Steve MacIntyre - Mark Letestu - Craig Adams
Zbynek Michalek - Paul Martin
Deryk Engelland - Brooks Orpik
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy
Marc-Andre Fleury returns in goal after backup Brent Johnson made 24 saves in a 4-2 victory at Minnesota on Tuesday.
Posted On Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Now settled, Pittsburgh's Neal scoring again

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal won't wonder again why some players - even those with a history of producing - struggle after being dealt to a contending team at the trading deadline.

Last season, he was one of those players.

With the injured Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup and the Penguins' scoring average down a goal per game from when their stars were playing, they acquired Neal and his reliable scoring Feb. 21 from the Dallas Stars.

Only that scoring touch disappeared when he left the Stars to join a team loaded with injured stars. Pressing to produce for a team that was winning even without Crosby and Malkin, Neal was held to a single goal in 20 regular-season games. He also had only one in Pittsburgh's seven-game Eastern Conference playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

An unfamiliarity with a new city, new teammates and a new system, and perhaps some loneliness associated with his family being back home in Dallas, admittedly affected Neal's game.

"I underestimated it," Neal said Saturday before the Penguins played the Buffalo Sabres at Consol Energy Center. "I keep saying you get one phone call in your life that turns your life upside down within seconds. You're on a plane and in a whole city, with new teammates, and it's a huge change."

No wonder Neal welcomed a new start this season.

"I came in fresh, a better mindset and everything was easier with the living situation," said Neal, who relocated to Pittsburgh during the offseason. "It was just a lot more of a comfortable feeling coming to the rink. Now, knowing all of your teammates and really being a part of the Penguins is definitely better."

The stats sheet agrees with him. Playing mostly on a line with Malkin and Steve Sullivan, Neal had four goals and an assist in Pittsburgh's first five games, including two goals during a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday to the Washington Capitals.

"When Geno, Sully and Neal are on the ice together, they enjoy every single shift and they create so many chances and plays," defenseman Zbynek Michalek said. "It can be a dangerous line definitely."

Malkin won't play against the Sabres because of right knee soreness - he will be missing his third game in the Penguins' last four - but Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said playing the Penguins without their stars is no treat. The Sabres lost to Pittsburgh twice last season after Crosby sustained a concussion the first week of January.

"They're very dangerous. They're a hard-working, competitive team and they're getting goal scoring from different areas that makes them dangerous," Ruff said. "In our case, we know we've got to take care of our part. We know what to bring and we've got to be ready to outplay them."

The Sabres are looking to bounce back after losing their home opener to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Friday night after permitting two shorthanded goals. They began the season with a pair of victories in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere in Europe, beating the Los Angeles Kings in Berlin and the Anaheim Ducks in Helsinki.

"I thought we played a really good two games overseas, but we got away from our game (against Carolina). I think we got caught up a little bit in the hype of home ice, the home opener," Ruff said. "We've talked about that and now it's get back to work and play our game."

Neal is expected to move onto the Crosby line once the Penguins' captain returns; Crosby skated on a line with Neal and Sullivan during the morning skate but still has not been cleared medically to play in games.

"Obviously it would be great  to play with Sid, but the way we're playing with Geno, who knows what will happen?" Neal said. "As long as the team is doing well and I'm contributing, things are going great."
Posted On Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 12:59 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Penguins and Sabres

PITTSBURGH -- Jhonas Enroth will make his first start in goal for Buffalo, one night after the Sabres gave up two shorthanded goals in a 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in their home opener. Enroth was 9-2-2 last season while being recalled from Portland (AHL) five times. He was the first NHL goalie to gain each of his first three wins in a shootout.

"In back to back situations, we're definitely going to use him," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He had a great preseason for us. I don't have any hesitation putting him in. We've got faith he can play well for us. I think it's important for us – we're in a busy part of our schedule and we're looking for him to step in for us."

Enroth stopped 28 of 29 shots during a 1-0 loss to the Penguins on Nov. 24, 2010.


Thomas Vanek - Luke Adam - Jason Pominville
Tyler Ennis - Derek Roy - Drew Stafford
Nathan Gerbe - Ville Leino - Brad Boyes
Cody McCormick - Paul Gaustad - Patrick Kaleta

Robyn Regehr - Tyler Myers
Jordan Leopold - Christian Ehrhoff
Andrej Sekera - Marc-Andre Gragnani

Enroth will start in goal, with Ryan Miller as the backup


Steve Sullivan - Sidney Crosby* - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Pascal Dupuis
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams

Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy

Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net after missing Thursday's game against the Capitals with flu-like symptoms. Brent Johnson will be the backup.

*Crosby is practicing with the top line, but remains out indefinitely as he recovers from a concussion. Coach Dan Bylsma did not say who would move onto that line. The only other healthy center on the roster, Mark Letestu, was scratched against Washington. Center Evgeni Malkin won't play due to right knee soreness.
Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:43 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Sick Fleury to get night off; Vokoun in for Caps

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has an undisclosed illness, which means backup Brent Johnson is expected to start Thursday against Washington (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), his former club. Fleury would be the backup.

Johnson has started once during the Penguins' first four games, their 2-1 shootout loss in Edmonton on Sunday, in which Johnson stopped 34 of 35 shots. Johnson played for the Capitals from 2005-09.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said Tomas Vokoun would make his second start in goal. Michal Neuvirth has an undisclosed injury and did not make the trip to Pittsburgh. Braden Holtby was recalled from AHL Hershey and will be the backup.
Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:40 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Sid, Geno availability leaves Pens' lines a question

The Penguins' line combinations during the morning skate weren't what they'll use in the game since captain Sidney Crosby -- cleared for full contact in practice for the first time this season -- centered a line with Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis.

Joe Vitale, who had 2 assists in a 4-2 win against Florida on Tuesday, is expected to remain on that line.

Evgeni Malkin centered Steve Sullivan and James Neal on another line. Malkin has missed the last two games with right knee soreness and is a game-time decision. If he can't go, Mark Letestu likely would move into this spot.

The other Penguins lines were:

Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams.

The defensemen pairs were:
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland.
Ben Lovejoy - Matt Niskanen

Brent Johnson will start in goal in place of Marc-Andre Fleury, who is sick, but still will serve as the backup.

More coming soon on the goaltender situation for both teams tonight.

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