Penguins notebook: Mothers accompany team on Western trip
LOS ANGELES — Sorry, dads.
Mothers of most Penguins players, coaches and traveling personnel are on the club's five-day Western road trip. Only five players — Evgeni Malkin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Gibbons, Chuck Kobasew and Olli Maatta — did not make the trip.
The Mothers Trip is a first for the franchise, which ran Fathers Trips from 2007-12.
Players' mothers are flying on the team charter and staying in separate rooms at hotels in Los Angeles and near Glendale, Ariz.
A team picture involving players and moms was taken Thursday morning at Staples Center. The moms donned Penguins road white jerseys with their sons' number and surname. The jerseys also included a special patch, designed by the Penguins, to commemorate the inaugural Mothers Trip.
Rob Scuderi's four years with the Los Angeles Kings included mentoring two top defensemen, Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov, and winning the lone Stanley Cup in franchise history.
All of that merited a tribute video Thursday. The Penguins often welcome back former players with a greeting and video montage on the big board at Consol Energy Center.
Scuderi, who played for the Kings from 2009-13, played against the Kings for the first time since rejoining the Penguins last July.
He remains high on Voynov, who is reportedly a trade candidate for the Kings, who seek to improve an offense that ranked 26th at 2.31 goals per game and would consider moving Voynov to land an offensive producer.
“He plays defense first, and he has that knack and ability to join (offensively) at the right times,” Scuderi said of Voynov, who is 24 and signed through the 2018-19 season.
“He doesn't force it. He sits back and makes the right play. With the puck, without the puck, he seems to find the right spots and is in the right areas.”
Jeff Zatkoff started for the Penguins on Thursday. It was only his third starts in 13 games.
Coach Dan Bylsma said the plan is to play Marc-Andre Fleury at Phoenix on Saturday night.
Zatkoff had allowed eight combined goals in his past two starts after surrendering 12 in seven previous appearances dating to Nov. 2.
Around the boards
Penguins general manager Ray Shero did accompany the team to Los Angeles. The trade deadline is March 5, but there is Olympic-break rosters freeze from Feb. 7-23. The Penguins play only seven more games before the trade deadline.