Penguins notebook: Scuderi out indefinitely with broken ankle
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Penguins will be without defenseman Rob Scuderi for quite some time.
Coach Dan Bylsma announced following the Penguins' 3-1 victory at Carolina that Scuderi suffered a broken ankle on Saturday in Toronto.
It remains to be seen how long Scuderi will be out of the lineup, but he is scheduled for surgery later this week in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins signed Scuderi to a four-year, $13.5 million contract this summer to play with defenseman Kris Letang.
However, because of an injury to Letang that kept him out of the lineup for the season's first nine games, the duo only played four periods together.
Letang played with defenseman Matt Niskanen on Monday.
“Obviously we're going to miss the things that Rob Scuderi brings to the lineup,” Bylsma said.
The Penguins will go with a seven-man defensive rotation that includes Letang, Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Robert Bortuzzo, Olli Maatta and Deryk Engelland.
Quite the compliment
Carolina coach Kirk Muller was drafted directly behind Mario Lemieux in the NHL Entry Draft. He compared Sidney Crosby to another all-time great Monday.
Muller appreciates Crosby's physical abilities but suggested that what truly makes him great is the work he puts in away from the ice.
“He's similar to Wayne (Gretzky),” Muller said. “The focus is pretty high. He seems into every game. He does his preparation work. He just seems so focused. He knows the game and has the skill level to go along with it.”
Matter of time
Center Evgeni Malkin entered Monday's game in Carolina with only 10 points in 11 games, which represents one of the slower starts to his career.
A former teammate of his, though, said the Penguins shouldn't be worried about Malkin's lack of production.
Carolina center Jordan Staal said it's a matter of time before Malkin starts scoring points in bunches. And Staal believes the return of right wing James Neal — who is out at least another week with an upper-body injury — will open the floodgates for Malkin.
“I'm sure it doesn't help that Nealer's out,” Staal said. “Those two together are pretty special.”
Malkin entered Monday's game averaging 0.91 points per game. His career average is 1.22, which ranks 12th in NHL history.
Penguins right wing Chuck Kobasew suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and didn't return.
Bylsma said he would be evaluated by doctors Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland and forward Dustin Jeffrey were healthy scratches against Carolina. Jeffrey hasn't been in the lineup since an Oct. 15 game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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