Wallace latest to join Penguins

| Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008

Forward Tim Wallace was the latest Penguin to make his NHL debut when he played Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils. With the Penguins' injuries mounting, players from AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are getting a chance to fill in.

"I was just in shock really," Wallace said of getting the call. "I got some chills, and it's been a pretty exciting couple of days for me. I'm definitely having a great time. I'm just a little nervous."

Forward Jeff Taffe was also recalled Tuesday. This is his second stint with the Penguins. Taffe, Wallace and forward Chris Minard - who was recalled on Dec. 3 - played on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's top line this season. Wallace skated with Taffe and center Max Talbot last night.

• Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin now rank first and second, respectively, among Eastern Conference forwards in fan voting for the Jan. 25 All-Star game in Montreal. Just a week ago, Crosby and Malkin were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the voting. As of Wednesday night, Crosby was the top vote-getter among all NHL players and led all Eastern Conference forwards with 661,763 votes. Malkin is second with 589,433, and Saku Koivu of the Montreal Canadiens is third with 570,934. If Crosby and Malkin can secure either of the top three spots, they'll be the starters.

• The Penguins have played five games in eight days, and things won't settle down until next week. The Penguins will host the Islanders tonight and will travel to Philadelphia on Saturday. Then, the Penguins will get a much-needed four-day break before hitting the ice again Dec. 18.

"It's never easy when you play that many games," center Jordan Staal said. "It's tough. We don't really have much time to practice on the little things we need to work on. Mentally, we all need to be on the same page and work as a team."

• Seven Penguins are out with injuries, making it difficult for the Penguins to develop chemistry. Despite the constant personnel changes as of late, coach Michel Therrien's expectations haven't changed.

"We shouldn't approach the game with any excuse," he said. "My philosophy is whoever is on the ice should play the same way."

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