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Posted On Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 12:55 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Penguins

PITTSBURGH – St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves will return to the lineup against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; FS-MW, ROOT).

Reaves, who has missed the Blues' past three games, is expected to replace forward Scottie Upshall on St. Louis' fourth line against Pittsburgh (12-8-0). In 14 games this season, Reaves does not have a point and has three shots.

"He's uncomfortable to play against," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's had very much an up-and-down season, most of it based on health. He's healthy now. He feels good. We've conditioned him. This is about as far as we can go with him. The rest is kind of going to be in his court."

Posted On Saturday, 11.21.2015 / 1:13 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Penguins

PITTSBURGH – San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer will miss the game Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, ROOT) because of a personal matter.

Assistant coaches Steve Spott, Bob Boughner, and Johan Hedberg will handle the coaching duties for the Sharks (11-8-0, 22 points), who enter the game winners of four straight and in second place in the Pacific Division. Spott said he will work with the forwards while Boughner focuses on the defensemen and Hedberg comes down from the press box to be on a headset with video coach Dan Darrow.

"Nothing will change with regards to our responsibilities," Spott said.

Forward Melker Karlsson said he doesn't expect a drop-off without DeBoer.

"We know what to do out there and we have a great staff taking care of that, I think," Karlsson said. "It's not going to change too much, but Pete is a great guy. He's great to have back there, but the other guys will do a great job."

Posted On Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 12:48 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will shuffle their defensive pairings without Olli Maatta against the Colorado Avalanche at Consol Energy Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ALT, ROOT).

After Maatta was released from the hospital Wednesday, the Penguins announced he would miss 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury he sustained after Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter checked him into the boards during the second period of Pittsburgh's 4-3 win Tuesday. The Penguins recalled defenseman David Warsofsky from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

Warsofsky has one goal and three points in 10 NHL games split between two previous seasons with the Boston Bruins, but will not make his Penguins debut against Colorado. Instead, defenseman Adam Clendening will play in consecutive games for the first time in his initial season with Pittsburgh, coach Mike Johnston said.

"Olli's a tough guy to replace with the amount of minutes and the role he plays, and the do-it-all attitude he brings," Clendening said. "So I think we'll do a good job of collectively picking up his minutes. Whether it be me, or [Rob Scuderi] or [Brian Dumoulin] or whoever it may be."

Posted On Tuesday, 11.17.2015 / 12:39 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Penguins

PITTSBURGH Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist could play against the Minnesota Wild at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ROOT).

Hornqvist did not practice on Monday after sustaining an undisclosed injury against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. No update to his status was provided on Monday, but Hornqvist was one of the first forwards on the ice for Pittsburgh’s Tuesday morning skate.

“I’m feeling good,” Hornqvist said. “Obviously, it’s up to the coach to see what kind of lineup they have going, but I feel comfortable out there.”

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he thought Hornqvist performed well during the morning skate and seems healthy, but he will speak with the team trainers before deciding if Hornqvist will play.

Posted On Friday, 11.13.2015 / 12:44 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray will be a healthy scratch against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN1, FS-O, ROOT).

Murray, 22, has two goals and five assists in 16 games. He's third on the Blue Jackets with an average ice time of 20:36 but was a minus-2 in each of the past two games. Two defensive lapses by Murray led to Vancouver Canucks goals in the Blue Jackets' 5-3 loss Tuesday.

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said defenseman Dalton Prout will replace Murray in the lineup and likely be paired with Fedor Tyutin.

Tortorella said that he feels Murray has struggled the past couple of games and believes it could be good for him to watch and refresh.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.11.2015 / 12:32 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis returns to the lineup Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, RDS), five days after he was taken to an Edmonton hospital for precautionary reasons.

Dupuis participated in the morning skate at Consol Energy Center after missing the Penguins past two games because of symptoms that could have been related to his history of blood clots. Penguins coach Mike Johnston confirmed Dupuis will play after all tests came back negative.

"Everything was cleared," Dupuis said. "I'm ready to go … I was kept out of the lineup and we had to make sure coming back here to Pittsburgh a couple tests were done and they came out negative. So that's why I'm here. That's why I was here yesterday, here this morning, and I'll play tonight."

Posted On Thursday, 10.29.2015 / 12:46 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Lost in the discussion of Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma returning to face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time is a matchup of two of the best centers from the past decade against possibly one of the best of the decade to come.

When Bylsma takes his place behind the Sabres bench at Consol Energy Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, ROOT), he will do so with rookie center Jack Eichel in his arsenal. The 19-year-old will compete against the Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the first time, and Eichel is anticipating the opportunity.

"I watched them a lot and they're great players to watch," Eichel said. "I played against Malkin at the [2015 IIHF] World Championships [with the United States]. It was a good experience for me and it was good to get that in. They're not easy to play against but I look forward to the task."

Posted On Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 12:30 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- It has been 339 days since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis played a regular-season game. That streak will come to an end Thursday.

Dupuis will return after missing nearly a year when he and the Penguins face the Dallas Stars at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; SN360, FS-SW, ROOT). He last played Nov. 11, 2014 against the New York Rangers, one day after scoring two goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then on Nov. 19 the Penguins announced Dupuis' season was over because of a potentially career-threatening blood clot in his lung.

The 36-year-old was expected to return at the beginning of this season, but a lower-body injury delayed his progress. His status last was updated Sunday, when Dupuis said he most likely was a few weeks from making his season debut.

"I'm excited," Dupuis said Thursday. "Excitement. That's pretty much it. It healed quicker than I thought it would so it's good to get back out there for a real game. … I just want to get back out there. It doesn't matter who I play with or where I play. It will just be huge to get back in the regular routine and play meaningful hockey again.

"It's definitely a little earlier [than expected]. But I feel good and they gave me the OK so it's quite exciting."

Posted On Tuesday, 10.20.2015 / 12:54 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Panthers at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without their youngest player when they face Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-F, ROOT).

Rookie forward Daniel Sprong will remain in Canada while attempting to gain an extension on his work-visa, Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. As has been a theme this season, Pittsburgh did not hold line rushes during its morning skate, so how Sprong's absence will affect its lines is unknown.

Sprong's absence could deliver a blow to an offense that has failed to score more than two goals through five games, and has been significantly impacted by forward Sidney Crosby's lack of production.

"We just need to execute," Crosby said. "We need to make the right decisions and then, when we do identify who's open, we have to execute plays. So once we've gotten in the zone, I think there's been some good opportunities. We still have to find a way to score."

Posted On Saturday, 10.17.2015 / 12:20 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins experimented with their lines at the morning skate, but more of the same should be expected Saturday when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Consol Energy Center.

Pittsburgh loaded its first line with Evgeni Malkin at left wing joining center Sidney Crosby and right wing Phil Kessel, who will face the Maple Leafs for the first time since an offseason trade.

"I've played against a bunch of those guys before," Kessel said. "I have good friends over there and it's going to be strange, but I'm looking forward to it."

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