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Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 11:53 AM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- David Perron will make his Pittsburgh Penguins debut against the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

The Penguins acquired Perron from the Edmonton Oilers on Friday for a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and forward Rob Klinkhammer. Perron was not able to play against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, a 6-3 Pittsburgh win, but will be available for the Penguins’ game against another formidable Eastern Conference opponent Saturday.

Perron was welcomed by French-Canadian teammates, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang, after skating for about 10 minutes on his own Saturday morning.

"Obviously the excitement level of going from a team that’s not going to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs to a team that certainly will make the playoffs and make a run at the Cup is extremely special to me," Perron said. "As a player, once you've played a few years in the League, all you start to worry about is winning hockey games and I just try to come in, do my part, work hard and fit in with the team."

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Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 12:48 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- A physical presence will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins in time to face the team they are chasing in the Eastern Conference.

Forward Steve Downie, who has missed Pittsburgh's past five games with the mumps, will play against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Consol Energy Center on Friday after taking part in a second consecutive morning skate. Downie skated the morning of the Penguins' 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Downie was not physically prepared to return to game action after the Wednesday skate, although he was close. Johnston confirmed Downie will play against Tampa Bay.

"It's a good time for us to get him back in the lineup," Johnston said. "Certainly his mumps situation, for different players it affects you different ways, and for him it really knocked him down for several days."

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 12:34 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The struggling Pittsburgh Penguins could be bolstered by a few returning players when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

After avoiding consecutive regulation losses through nearly the first three months of the season, the Penguins have lost their past three games in regulation since a 4-3 shootout loss against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 22. Injuries and illnesses seemingly have caught up to Pittsburgh, but it could receive a bit of a reprieve against Carolina.

Forwards Beau Bennett and Craig Adams, as well as defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, could return to the lineup after each participated in the Penguins' optional Wednesday morning skate. Forward Steve Downie (mumps) also was present at the skate but will not play against Carolina, Penguins coach Mike Johnston said.

Bennett's potential return could be the most impactful. After missing 16 games with a lower-body injury and contracting the mumps, Bennett skated on Pittsburgh's second line during practice Tuesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Capitals at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Two familiar faces will step on the Consol Energy Center ice when Washington Capitals defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Orpik and Niskanen will play against their former team for the first time since signing with the Capitals during free agency. Orpik was the Penguins’ most-tenured player prior to his departure with 703 games played for Pittsburgh, a team-record for a defenseman. He played each of his first 11 NHL seasons in Pittsburgh since being drafted in the first round of the 2000 NHL Draft.

“I had nothing but good memories here,” Orpik said. “Obviously the last couple years were disappointing, with the way we finished, but that was just the hockey side of things. Away from some of the disappointing endings that we had, I have nothing but good memories here.

“Hopefully, the fans reciprocate those feelings.”

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Posted On Saturday, 12.20.2014 / 11:41 AM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Panthers at Penguins

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins’ defensive corps continues to thin.

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will not play against the Florida Panthers at Consol Energy Center on Saturday, and the ensuing two games, after exiting Pittsburgh’s game against the Colorado Avalanche with an undisclosed injury on Thursday. Defenseman Paul Martin was also absent during the Penguins’ morning skate.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 12:16 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will play against the Colorado Avalanche at Consol Energy Center on Thursday.

Crosby missed Pittsburgh’s past three games with the mumps. He participated in the Penguins morning skate on Thursday in order to test how he felt and said he felt well following the skate, but would talk with the medical staff before determining if he would play.

“When I saw that picture, that's not what I looked like before I went on the ice,” Crosby said of a photo that circulated on Twitter of him with a swollen cheek. “It was just one of those things, we were well aware of it. Everyone did the right things to try to keep me and everyone else as protected as you can be. But it's just something that sometimes you can't do anything about it.”

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Posted On Monday, 12.15.2014 / 1:10 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Two of the Eastern Conference's best teams will meet in Pittsburgh on Monday, but one won't have a full arsenal.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without forward Sidney Crosby when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN). Crosby will miss his third consecutive game after it was announced Sunday he had been diagnosed with the mumps.

"It's just weird," forward Brandon Sutter said. "He had a few things going on last week, and when you saw him you knew something was up. But like [team doctor Dharmesh Vyas] said, he went through the test before and didn't show anything. Just kind of a weird series of events."

Crosby is past the infectious stage of the disease and is expected to return to skating Tuesday or Wednesday, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday. But Rutherford said forward Beau Bennett, who has missed nine games with a lower-body injury, is showing symptoms of the mumps and has been quarantined.

Bennett's test results are expected back Tuesday, Rutherford said.

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Posted On Friday, 12.12.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will get two key players back but be without their superstar when they face the Calgary Flames at Consol Energy Center on Friday.

Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed) and defenseman Kris Letang (groin) are expected to play against Calgary after each participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate Friday. Letang and Hornqvist, who also practiced Thursday, missed five and two games respectively, which added to an already lengthy injury list.

Forwards Chris Kunitz (foot fracture), Beau Bennett (lower body) and Pascal Dupuis (blood clot) have each missed significant time, and defenseman Olli Maatta did not play against the New York Rangers on Tuesday because of an upper-body injury.

Without Hornqvist and Kunitz, Pittsburgh has struggled to generate goals from around the crease. Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he hopes they can influence the rest of the lineup when healthy.

"We've got two of the best, as I talked about earlier in the season, in Kunitz and Hornqvist around the net," Johnston said. "I think a lot of our players can learn from them. How they play in front of the net. How they're good at not only setting a screen, but at times, providing a stick for deflections."

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Posted On Friday, 12.12.2014 / 4:10 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Penguins' Crosby to miss next two games with illness

PITTSBURGH -- Forward Sidney Crosby will miss the Pittsburgh Penguins next two games after saying he was healthy enough to play against the Calgary Flames on Friday.

Crosby participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate at Consol Energy Center after missing practice on Thursday with an undisclosed illness. Crosby and Penguins coach Mike Johnston each said Crosby felt well enough to play against the Flames following the morning skate.

Medical specialists made a recommendation to sit Crosby over the weekend, against the Flames and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, after further tests came back Friday, according to a release on the Penguins website.

"There is no indication at this time that this is the mumps, but we are going to hold him out as a precaution," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We'll have additional test results in a few days."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.06.2014 / 11:38 AM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Penguins

PITTSBURGHPittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will not play against the Ottawa Senators at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Hornqvist, who did not participate in Pittsburgh’s practice on Friday, will continue to be evaluated for an apparent upper-body injury sustained during the second period of the Penguins’ 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. An update to his status could be provided on Sunday.

Hornqivst ranks second on Pittsburgh with 11 goals, one less than Evgeni Malkin, and third with 25 points, behind Sidney Crosby and Malkin.

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