Penguins notebook: Bortuzzo's physical nature paying off
When the Penguins finally have their entire defensive core healthy, Robert Bortuzzo might have a hard time making his way into the lineup.
His recent play, though, is giving the coaching staff something to think about.
The Penguins are delighted with Bortuzzo's performance, particularly with the snarl that has become a trademark of his game.
His performance against Toronto last week — he recorded a game-high six hits, was a plus-2, was credited with an assist and won a convincing fight — seemed to propel him to a higher level of play.
“I did get some good feedback from that game,” Bortuzzo said.
The coaching staff wasn't pleased with Bortuzzo's performance against Philadelphia in a 2-1 loss. Following that game, Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch for a couple of weeks.
The recent rash of injuries to the Penguins' blue line saw the 6-foot-4 native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, head back into the lineup.
He has been a physical presence while playing with rookie Brian Dumoulin and even added a couple of assists against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
“I didn't feel like I was playing poorly before,” Bortuzzo said. “But the fact of the matter is, we have a lot of great defensemen here. I know that. You've just got to play your best every game, and I'm trying to do that.”
Bortuzzo's signature moment this season came on Thursday when he was on the ice for almost the entirety of a lengthy five-on-three penalty kill against the Minnesota Wild.
He wasn't able to exit the ice for more than one minute because of Minnesota's continual pressure but played perfect positional defense in front of goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
“He was awesome during that stretch,” Zatkoff said. “The guy is a good defenseman.”
Glass is a maybe
Tanner Glass has been out of the lineup since sustaining a broken hand from a P.K. Subban shot on Nov. 23 in Montreal.
Even though logic might dictate resting Glass through the holiday break would be the prudent decision, there is a chance Glass could return to the lineup in Ottawa.
He has been practicing with the Penguins for nearly a week with no problems.
Coach Dan Bylsma called Glass a “game-time decision” for the Ottawa game.
Others still doubtful
Center Evgeni Malkin (lower-body injury), along with defensemen Brooks Orpik (concussion) and Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), continue to skate with the Penguins. However, Bylsma has strongly hinted that he would prefer to keep those players out of the lineup until the NHL resumes play following Christmas.
A new facet of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement states that no NHL activities may take place between Tuesday and Thursday.
Nothing to worry about
Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Joe Vitale did not practice on Sunday at Consol Energy Center but are expected to take the ice against the Senators on Monday.
Crosby joked following his three-point outing on Saturday against the Flames that he might “take the option” of taking Sunday's practice off. He currently leads the NHL in scoring with 54 points.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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.
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Penguins notebook: Team pays tribute to Ottawa shooting victims
- Metropolitan Division holding own in early part of season
- Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
- Testing legs, giving backup goalie a chance are Penguins’ priorities
- Beefed-up Islanders could pose threat to Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Goligoski emerges as top-four defenseman in Dallas
- Penguins’ Dupuis takes ice after leaving Thursday’s game on stretcher
- Bortuzzo could provide much-needed physical presence for Penguins
- Penguins’ top line of Hornqvist, Crosby, Kunitz charging to net
- Forwards Dupuis, Spaling, Comeau give Penguins flexibility