Penguins general manager Ray Shero announced today that goaltender Tomas Vokoun will be out for 3-6 months after undergoing a procedure to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis on Sept. 21. All of the details are here.
Head coach Dan Bylsma provided a few more injury updates after practice…
- Forward Matt D’Agostini has also been placed on long-term injured reserve. Bylsma said Tuesday D’Agostini had slowed in his progression recovering from his lower-body injury.
- Defenseman Kris Letang (lower-body) is on injured reserve and his earliest possible return to game action is Oct. 8.
- Forward James Neal has an upper-body injury that’s day-to-day. He was on the ice briefly just before the start of practice and then left, but Bylsma said that is not when Neal sustained the injury – he was actually testing it during that time. “He was testing it with going out early and shooting,” Bylsma said. “So it didn’t happen today while he was on the ice.”
After being re-assigned to Wheeling of the ECHL on Monday, forward Beau Bennett was recalled to Pittsburgh this morning and practiced with the team. He skated on a line with Brandon Sutter and Chuck Kobasew, who signed a one-year deal with the Penguins.
Additional moves made today: forward Chris Conner and defenseman Harrison Ruopp were re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Bylsma talked about the power play this morning. He said that as the team prepares for the season, they will have situations where they use just one defensemen and others where they will use two.
While Letang is out, Bylsma said Paul Martin will take his spot as the one defenseman with four forwards. If the Penguins are using two defensemen, they will be Martin and Matt Niskanen, “who is going to get a look there as the right-shot guy on that power play.” Bylsma said that Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz would likely be the three forwards.
The Penguins used the following units today at practice with both Letang and Neal missing: Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Jokinen and Martin on the first; Jeffrey, Sutter, Bennett, Niskanen and Maatta on the second.
Maatta had been practicing as a sixth guy on the second unit, so without Neal on the ice today, he stepped up and played with Niskanen. “That will be something you can expect to see in the game and possibly Dustin Jeffrey on the point there as well. So a little more opportunity for Olli Maatta,” Bylsma said.
Goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff are the Penguins co-Mustache Boys for the month of October. Fleury told us that goalie coach Mike Bales has to grow a mustache as well.
“I think it was two years ago (the last time I was Mustache Boy),” Fleury said. “I’m a little disappointed about it, but nice to have some support from my partner, Zatkoff, and our goalie coach.”