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Inside Scoop: Trade deadline and wounded D

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens' blue line has been rocked with injuries lately. The team has lost two key players to 6-week injuries in Olli Maatta (hand) and Trevor Daley (knee). Both requiring surgery and not expected to return until around April. 

Meanwhile, Justin Schultz is recovering from a concussion and Kris Letang is day-to-day with an injury. The Pens D-corps is wounded.

"It seems like we're losing guys pretty quickly," Ian Cole said following Thursday's practice. "It's tough. Guys need to step up, fill in and really contribute. Just play smart, consistent hockey, get the pucks to our forwards and we'll be fine."

"You don't want to see guys go down," Brian Dumoulin said. "Every team goes through that and we're going through it right now. Everyone has to rally together."

The Pens tried to help out the decimated blue line with the addition of 35-year-old veteran Ron Hainsey from Carolina.

"(Hainsey) is an experienced D-man, solid," Schultz said. "He doesn't make mistakes. He's gong to come in handy with his experience."

Even general manager Jim Rutherford said that the health of the blue line compelled him to make the trade for Hainsey. And he might not be done.

"I felt more urgency with all of these injuries on defense," Rutherford said. "In the next 24 hours we'll decide (on acquiring another defenseman) … We're thinking about that right now."


Rutherford touched on a few trade deadline subjects with the media. Here are the highlights.

*On the team's cap space and potential deals: "We're right up against it. There's always possibilities and you have to get creative. There are always ways to figure out a deal."

*On picking up a forward: "We're open to anything. We like our forward group. You can always improve on it. We'll stay in the mix right up to the deadline and see what happens."

*On trading Marc-Andre Fleury: "I'll say what I've said all along, we'd prefer to keep him. We play a lot of games in March. You don't know (about injuries). He's handled the situation very well. I'm going to have some communication with him between now and the deadline and see exactly where he sits and how he feels. That'll play a part in the final decision. I won't get too far ahead of myself. He very well could be a part of our team going down the stretch."

*On the current lineup: "As long as we get rested and are healthy, I feel very confident. This is a good team."

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