Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from the Penguins' Friday practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
1. Rust, Simon out
Forwards Bryan Rust and Dominik Simon were injured in the Penguins' 5-2 win over the Flyers on Wednesday in Philadelphia and did not practice today.
Rust left early in the first period after getting boarded by Flyers forward Robert Hagg, and head coach Mike Sullivan said he is out with a concussion.
"He's a tough guy to replace," Sullivan said. "He's a real versatile player. He's a real good player, brings a lot of energy to our team, I think he helps our team speed when he's in our lineup, so he's not an easy guy to replace."
Sullivan added that Simon is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Goalie Matt Murray, who has missed the last five games with a concussion, skated on his own this morning and progressed to taking controlled shots. Forward Zach Aston-Reese, who has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury, is also making progress.
2. Jooris recalled
With two more players injured, Sullivan said it's an opportunity for guys to step up and fill those voids. Josh Jooris will be one of those guys.
Jooris, who was acquired by the Penguins from the Carolina Hurricanes at the NHL Trading Deadline in exchange for Greg McKegg, was recalled on Thursday and joined the team for practice today.
"It feels really good to be here," Jooris said. "It's an unbelievable organization and to get an opportunity like this to come in and try and help out, it's unbelievable. It's a bunch of great guys and I'm excited to get going."
Though Jooris, whose stall is next to Jake Guentzel's and two down from Sidney Crosby, admitted there was also some trepidation entering the dressing room this morning.
"Not going to lie, it's a little intimidating," he said. "I was a bit nervous coming in this morning. Meeting some of the guys in this room, obviously the track record speaks for itself. You want to come in here and not step on coals, just go about my business. The guys have been real easy and I met everyone else. It's a good group."
The fourth-year veteran played in 31 NHL games with the Hurricanes earlier this season, producing six points (3G-3A) before joining Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He's appeared in three games with WBS since his acquisition, scoring once.
In terms of what he wants to bring to Pittsburgh, Jooris said it's going to be important for him to play a 200-foot game, bring energy, make it difficult on opposing defensemen and be smart and reliable defensively while chipping in offensively when he can.
"He's a guy that can play center and the wing," Sullivan said. "He's a good penalty killer. He has experience in this league. And he's playing extremely well down there for them right now. So based on the need we felt we had for where we were going to use him in our lineup and how we were going to use him, we felt like he was the best player for it."
Right now, the Pens have Jooris slotted in at center. Here's the lines they used during practice…
The defensemen rotated.
Despite having enough centers in the lineup, as of now, the Pens are still planning to use Sheahan on the wing because they think he can be effective there and they liked what they saw from that trio on Wednesday.
"We think Riley's playing extremely well at both ends of the rink," Sullivan said. "He's another center ice man, which gives us two center ice men on that line. He's got a defensive conscience to his game, so he brings an element of conscientious play, being harder to play against and we believe he has the offense and offensive instincts to play with those guys."