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Rossi: Maatta excused from morning practice


NEW YORK – Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta did not skate with the Penguins at a morning practice at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, and his status is not known for a potential clinching Game 6 against the Rangers.

Maatta was sent back to the Penguins’ Manhattan hotel upon arriving at the Garden on Sunday morning. Several Penguins teammates implied he was not feeling well.

Coach Dan Bylsma did not provide an update on Maatta, who has played in all 11 of the Penguins’ playoff games. Team policy is not to divulge details of players’ medical conditions during the playoffs.

The Penguins are already without defenseman Brooks Orpik, who did not play in Game 5 after not finishing Game 4. Orpik also did not practice on Sunday.

Orpik’s latest injury is different from one that forced him out for five previous games before his Game 4 return. The Penguins do not project Orpik will play in a Game 7 (if necessary) against the Rangers or perhaps at the start of a potential Eastern Conference final.

Deryk Engelland, who has not played since April 12 in the penultimate game of the regular season, skated as one of the Penguins’ top six defensemen at practice on Sunday.

The Penguins lead a best-of-seven series with the Rangers, 3-2. Game 6 is at 7 p.m. on Sunday night. A win would  return the Penguins to the Eastern Conference final for a second consecutive season and the fourth time since 2008.


>> Game 6 is the chance for the Penguins to prove they are different:


>> With the “Insider,” Josh Yohe examines the Penguins’ lacking killer instinct in clinching spots:


>> Led by Derick Brassard, Rangers’ line owning playoffs, writes Jason Mackey:


>> Contributor Denis Gorman on the anticipated next emotional game for the Rangers:


>> A missed opportunity leads the notes from Saturday provided by Mackey:


If you are lucky enough to do it today, hug your mother – a lot. Do it tomorrow, too. Make that a habit, actually.

Oh, and as always, be EXCELLENT to each other





Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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