SOUTHPOINTE, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Penguins held a Monday afternoon practice at Southpointe. The only player missing was, as expected, defenseman Olli Maatta.
Maatta will undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his neck. He is currently having treatment until the procedure is conducted and will be out of the lineup for approximately four weeks.
“No surgery (yet). There’s treatment this week and that’s all I have right now,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We’ll see where the timeline is probably following this week’s treatment.”
For more information on Maatta’s tumor click here.
Meanwhile, forward Beau Bennett (lower-body) has been cleared for full contact and participated in his first full practice on Monday.
Bennett will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League this week to experience game action. He is expected to play with them this weekend. WBS has games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s an opportunity for him, with us being on the road and not getting quality practices, we’d like these guys to have some time in practice to get through contact,” Johnston said. “He needs that. So he has a chance to go down to Wilkes and get quality practices this week.”
Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has been fully recovered from a lower-body injury for the past few weeks. But with the Penguins playing so well, he hasn’t had a chance yet to crack the lineup.
But with Maatta now sidelined for approximately four weeks, Bortuzzo finally has the opportunity he’s been waiting for to play.
“I’m really excited,” Bortuzzo said. “The teams been doing some nice things. I just want to come in and hopefully make a seamless transition and contribute to a couple more wins.”
The Penguins also recalled defenseman Scott Harrington from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He was the team’s second-round pick in 2011. The Penguins would like Harrington to play at some point if possible during the Penguins' three-game road trip.
“It's great to be back here today,” Harrington said. "I'm just going day-by-day and going with the flow."
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was named the NHL’s “Third Star” of the week after posting back-to-back shutouts. He went 3-0-0 in the week, stopping 70 of 73 shots for a 1.00 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. It marked the first time in his career that Fleury has posted three shutouts in a four-game span.
“It’s cool,” Fleury said. “It’s always pretty cool. It just shows we had a strong week as a team. It’s good to make it.”
Fleury has 31 career shutouts, the most in franchise history.