Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik has a broken finger and is expected to miss about four weeks, coach Dan Bylsma said today. That would put things close to the start of the playoffs.
He joins a long list of Penguins who are out because of injury, most prominently All-Star centers Sidney Crosby, who has a concussion, and Evgeni Malkin, who had season-ending knee surgery.
Orpik, the club's top defensive defenseman and a physical presence, was injured late in the first period of Wednesday's 3-2 overtime loss to San Jose when he got hit on the right hand with a shot taken by the Sharks' Patrick Marleau.
Orpik, 30 and an alternate captain, leads the Penguins and ranks 11th in the NHL with 177 hits and is third on the club with 88 blocked shots
Three injured players -- centers Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Paul Martin -- could return as soon as Friday night when the Penguins play at Carolina.
The Penguins play their next five games on the road.