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Penguins

Teddy Blueger will have to wait a bit longer for Penguins debut

Jonathan Bombulie
| Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
The Penguins' Teddy Blueger fights for the puck with the Red Wings' Xavier Ouellet in the first period Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Teddy Blueger fights for the puck with the Red Wings' Xavier Ouellet in the first period Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at PPG Paints Arena.

DALLAS — In the long term, Teddy Blueger is the Penguins prospect with the best chance to fill the hole in the middle of the third and fourth lines that the team has been trying to patch for more than eight months now.

In the short term, his NHL debut will have to wait.

Carter Rowney, who left Tuesday's game against Vegas with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot in the first period, shook off the blow and played Friday night in Dallas, centering Ryan Reaves and Dominik Simon on the fourth line.

That meant Blueger, who was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday, was a healthy scratch.

The person most disappointed by that news was probably Blueger's father in Latvia who was rearranging his sleep schedule to potentially catch his son's first NHL game, which started at 2:30 a.m. local time.

“He watches pretty much all my games in Wilkes,” Blueger said.

A second-round pick in 2012, Blueger has a good chance to be the team's third- or fourth-line center in the future because of his solid two-way game.

“I think defensively I've been good,” said Blueger, who is fifth on the team in scoring in Wilkes-Barre with 12 goals and 26 points in 45 games. “When the offensive opportunities present themselves, I think I've done a pretty good job taking advantage for the most part.”

The biggest knock on Blueger has been his lack of footspeed, but he said he has taken some of the choppiness out of his stride through power-skating instruction.

“We think he's improved,” coach Mike Sullivan said.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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