The sheer number of changes in the Penguins organization in the last few days has been staggering, and the hits kept on coming Wednesday morning in Boston.
Nick Bonino was absent from morning skate due to illness. Coach Mike Sullivan said he’ll be a game-time decision.
Bonino’s absence plus the arrival of Trevor Daley from Chicago and Conor Sheary, Kevin Porter and Matt Murray from Wilkes-Barre prompted further shuffling to a lineup that was already shuffled yesterday.
There was plenty of rotation going on this morning, especially on D, but I expect the lineup to look something like this tonight if Bonino can’t go:
Two takeaways there. First, Kessel practiced on the left wing on a line with Fehr and Sprong yesterday. That line seemed a little too weird from the get-go. I’m not sure it was ever destined to see the light of day in a game. Might have been a practice thing until the call-ups could arrive. Second, Fehr will be playing center, really, for the first time this season. He had success there in Washington last year.
The power-play units were also different than yesterday.
The first group was the same, with Malkin at the center point, Crosby on the left wall, Warsofsky on the right wall, Kunitz in the high slot and Perron at the net.
The second group was different with newcomers added. Daley worked the center point at morning skate and looked great, by the way. Low, hard shot. Kessel was on the left wall, Maatta on the right, Sheary in the high slot and Hornqvist at the net.
Giving a call-up like Sheary a spot on the power play shows that Sullivan thought highly of him while they were in Wilkes-Barre together at the start of the season.
Anyway, here’s Sullivan’s take on all the changes:
“As far how we’re trying to play, I don’t think we have to make changes,” Sullivan said. “It’s more about trying to define what it means to play the right way, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do since I’ve been here, for the last couple days, try to do my best to share my thoughts on what it means to play the right way. We’ve made a few adjustments as far as tactically how we’re playing, but for me, that’s not the most important thing.”
In goal, meanwhile, Jeff Zatkoff is scheduled to start tonight as Marc-Andre Fleury will miss at least 10 days with a concussion.
Many goalies don’t like to talk to reporters on game day. Zatkoff isn’t one of them. He noted that the Penguins are beginning a stretch of four games in six days.
“Going into the schedule to begin with, I knew that it was a busy schedule and I was probably going to get a game or two. It doesn’t change anything,” Zatkoff said. “I’m excited to get back in there, an opportunity to play, and give the team a chance to win. It starts tonight. Gotta big match with Boston. Should be a fun game. I know guys are definitely ready to go.”
More after the game tonight. Bye for now,