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Penguins have mixed feelings about suspensions; Martin out

| Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — The Penguins will play in Game 4 without three of their regular players because of suspensions, and many players have mixed feelings about the NHL's decision.

Right wing Arron Asham has been suspended for the remainder of the series while right wingers James Neal and Craig Adams will miss tonight's contest because of respective one-game suspensions.

"I think we're like the rest of the league," left wing Steve Sullivan said, "and the rest of the hockey world. We're a little confused. You just don't know what to expect."

The Penguins will be forced to use a host of players with little playoff experience because of the suspensions.

"It's the decision the league made so we have to deal with it," center Jordan Staal said. "We're never really sure what to expect when it comes to those decisions."

Defenseman Brooks Orpik explained that NHL Discipline czar Brendan Shanahan does not possess an easy job.

Shanahan met with the Penguins in New Jersey last month to discuss disciplinary procedures.

"They have a very tough job to do," Orpik said. "We all knew something was coming. It's not up to us to decide. I don't know what the feeling in the room was. You accept it and go with it. We had an hour-long meeting with Brendan Shanahan in New Jersey. I wish everyone had a chance to see how he comes up with his decisions and how much thought he puts into it."

Discipline in the NHL has become a bigger topic than the actual games and Orpik doesn't believe Shanahan deserves some of the criticism he deserves.

"It's not just him," Orpik said. "There's a panel of people. People have to take a step back and see how much goes into it."

Also missing the game tonight will be defenseman Paul Martin, who is out with an undisclosed injury. It is believed he was injured while absorbing a hit from Philadelphia forward Brayden Schenn. Moments after Schenn hit Martin — the Flyers rookie received a charging minor on the play — Asham retaliated with a high cross check, with earned the four-game suspension.

Although the Penguins will be using a number of young players tonight — Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey and Simon Despres are all expected to play — coach Dan Bylsma expressed confidence.

He concluded is pregame press conference by saying, "I think we are ready to be at our best tonight."

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