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Penguins look forward to Jokinen in lineup

by Tal Pinchevsky /

NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' latest addition, forward Jussi Jokinen, is not expected to play Wednesday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. But Penguins coach Dan Bylsma certainly has plans for Jokinen, who was acquired on NHL Trade Deadline day from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a conditional draft pick.

When he joins the team, Jokinen, who is expected to skate with the team Thursday, will take Sidney Crosby's spot centering Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. When Crosby eventually returns from a broken jaw that is expected to keep him out for the rest of the regular season, 30-year-old Jokinen is expected to find a new role.

"Obviously, getting healthy would leave different options available," Bylsma said before Wednesday's game. "You could see him playing on a fourth line and filling specific roles on your team, be it the faceoff or the power play. There are different options that he can fulfill at a point in time when you get everyone healthy.

"[He is] a guy I always circle as one of the guys you need to pay attention to on the other team. A guy who is versatile, plays center, plays wing, plays both special teams, takes faceoffs."

With Bylsma's phone and iPad not receiving good reception at the team hotel, he was unable to keep track of the day's deals. But he admitted to being surprised by the Rangers' trade that sent wing Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his stead will be Ryane Clowe, whom New York acquired from the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

"I was caught off guard by the Rangers [trade] on the way to the rink today," Bylsma said. "They're changing pitchers on the fly here. Our meeting this morning, a good portion was about Gaborik. Now it's going to be something different. We know Clowe is a big, strong, grinding guy. He's going to be right in the mix tonight."

Now that the deadline has come and gone, Bylsma was intent to move forward knowing his roster was set. Over the previous week, the Penguins were among the League's most active trade partners, acquiring Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames, Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars and Douglas Murray from San Jose.

The Penguins lineup will change again when injured players Crosby, Kris Letang and Paul Martin return.

Defenseman Mark Eaton was sent home with an illness and will not play Wednesday night.

"Two days ago, with the deadline looming, you can't say this is the group going forward," Bylsma said. "We now know exactly what we have ahead of us in terms of what's remaining on the schedule and what the expectations are on our team. We've added a few big pieces, so we have work to do."

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in net against the Rangers. With the exception of Eaton, the Penguins are expected to ice the same lineup that lost 4-1 at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Here is the projected lineups for the Penguins:

Chris Kunitz - Tyler Kennedy - Pascal Dupuis

James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla

Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke

Tanner Glass - Dustin Jeffrey - Craig Adams

Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen

Douglas Murray - Simon Despres

Deryk Engelland - Robert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury

Tomas Vokoun

Injured: Sidney Crosby (jaw), Kris Letang (lower body), Paul Martin (upper body)

Scratched: Joe Vitale

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