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Penguins notebook: Surplus on defense forces Bortuzzo to sit

| Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Robert Bortuzzo (right) was a healthy scratch against the Panthers on Monday night.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Panthers' Shawn Matthias (17) and Jonathan Huberdeau watch as Drew Shore's second-period shot beats Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has impressed the Penguins coaching staff this season.

He plays with a physical edge, uses a long reach to make life miserable for opposing forwards and has substantially improved his puck skills and decision-making.

Still, he looks like the odd man out.

Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch against the Florida Panthers on Monday. Should the Penguins' blue line stay healthy for a long stretch — something it has rarely been able to accomplish in recent seasons — he may find himself sitting in the press box on a regular basis.

While this isn't something that sounds helpful to a developing defenseman, coach Dan Bylsma simply stated Bortuzzo needs to adjust to the situation.

“It's part of being a professional,” Bylsma said.

Bortuzzo did not disagree.

Although Bortuzzo said he is pleased with his recent work, he is taking the situation in stride.

“At this point,” Bortuzzo said, “being frustrated really isn't going to do you any good, and I realize that.”

Bortuzzo stayed on the ice for an extended workload following Monday's morning skate, something that will continue when he is out of the lineup.

“The thing for me right now is to just keep doing what I've been doing,” Bortuzzo said.

“I'm just going to keep working hard on the ice, and I'm going to keep working hard off of the ice. I'll just keep doing that. I've got to be ready when I get a chance to get out there.”

Dupuis' surgery date scheduled

Right wing Pascal Dupuis finally has a surgery date, though it's a lot later than anyone expected.

Coach Dan Bylsma announced Monday that Dupuis will have surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee Feb. 12. The injury took place Dec. 23 in Ottawa.

ACL surgeries usually take place one or two weeks following the injury, depending on the severity of the tear. The team has said no other ligaments in Dupuis' knee are torn.

Dupuis' return this season would be surprising. Athletes in all sports returning from ACL surgery generally require a minimum of six months to return. The normal timetable for a return from such an injury is closer to nine to 12 months.

Panthers goalie Thomas ill

The Penguins received what appeared to be a break Monday morning when Panthers coach Peter Horachek announced goaltender Tim Thomas wouldn't be starting because of illness.

Thomas likely will play Tuesday against the Sabres in Buffalo.

The veteran goaltender, who won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 before taking a year off from hockey, has been solid in his first season with the Panthers. He is 12-13-3 with a 2.58 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

Charity auction

The Penguins will partner with Root Sports for a charity auction during the Penguins' home game telecast against Montreal on Wednesday.

Items up for bid include an autographed Mario Lemieux jersey and other items that could be autographed by current members of the Penguins. A silent auction will follow from Jan. 22-29 and will feature numerous opportunities for fans to win tickets to upcoming games.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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