Penguins notebook: Letang, Niskanen return to lineup against Senators
Coach Dan Bylsma welcomed defensemen Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen back to the Penguins lineup for Wednesday's home game against the Ottawa Senators. Letang (lower-body injury, undisclosed) had missed three consecutive games. Niskanen (ankle) was out for eight games dating to Jan. 27.
The return of two top-four defensemen means that rookies Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo will compete for a spot among the top six, Bylsma said.
“It's four right shots,” Bylsma said, referring to Letang, Niskanen, Bortuzzo and veteran Deryk Engelland.
“Righties, in particular, find it a little more difficult to play the off side. Simon adds the left shot, and it alleviates a little bit of that.”
Niskanen prefers to play as a left defenseman. Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, both left-handed shots, will remain the Penguins' defense pairing designated to play against opponents' top offensive units, Bylsma said.
The decision to play either Despres or Bortuzzo will not be based upon opponents' styles, Bylsma said.
“Simon is a little more offensive and adds offense with his passing ability; Robert's a little bit more abrasive, a physical guy,” Bylsma said. “They've both shown they can play. They add a little bit different elements.
“Simon probably has a little bit more of the advantage adding the left shot.”
Bortuzzo did not play against the Senators.
• Defenseman Dylan Reese was reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He practiced Wednesday morning with the Penguins but returned to the AHL because Letang and Niskanen were activated before the game against Ottawa. Reese, an Upper St. Clair native, played three games for the Penguins.
• The Senators scratched left winger Milan Michalek (lower-body, undisclosed). He was injured during the pregame warm-up. He had only two goals through 13 games but last season scored 35 goals in 77 contests for the Senators. Center Dustin Jeffrey and Bortuzzo were scratches for the Penguins.
• Center Brandon Sutter played in his 300th NHL game against the Senators. All but 14 came as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
— Rob Rossi
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- Penguins sign defensive prospect
- Scouts think Penguins could regain luster with minor tinkering
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Examining the draft trends of the last 3 Penguins GMs
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel