Penguins Notebook: Dupuis moves to Malkin's line


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Evgeni Malkin has a new right winger.

Pascal Dupuis has been shifted to the right side with Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko while Tyler Kennedy, who worked there most of the preseason, is returning to his old spot with Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke.

Coach Dan Bylsma said he expects to use those combinations when the Penguins face the New York Rangers in the season-opener tomorrow at Mellon Arena.

"That Jordan Staal line will benefit greatly from having [Kennedy] on it at the start of the season," Bylsma said.

"What [Kennedy] adds to the Jordan-Cooke line was a tough thing to turn away from."

He added that, "I don't think [Dupuis with Malkin and Fedotenko] is a fit that's going to stay the whole year."

The void on Malkin's line was created when Max Talbot, who played there during the Penguins' Stanley Cup run, underwent shoulder surgery that will prevent him from playing until at least late November.

This is not Dupuis' first top-six assignment; he logged considerable time on Sidney Crosby's line last season.

"I think I can feel comfortable pretty quick with anybody," Dupuis said.

"I'm not going to change my game [based on] who I play with, or how much ice time I get."

Crosby ready to go

Crosby is confident he will be in uniform for the opener.

He tested his sore groin aggressively in the 75-minute practice at Southpointe yesterday and said he was pleased with the results.

"I did a lot more battling and things like that in the corners," he said.

"Leaning on guys, and stuff. I was happy with the way it felt."

He added that, "As long as everything stays the way it is, it should be good to go."

Skoula 7th defenseman

Byslma confirmed that free agent Martin Skoula was brought in to be the Penguins' No. 7 defenseman, not to bump anyone off the top three pairings.

"When you look toward an 82-game season, a condensed schedule with the Olympics, adding a veteran defenseman -- a guy who has played in 700-plus NHL games -- adds a different dimension than looking to a younger guy, or inexperienced guy, to come up [from the minors] and play some games," he said.

Skoula's take on the Penguins' interest in him: "They're obviously looking for depth on defense.

"We'll just take it from there."


Dave Molinari can be reached at dmolinari@post-gazette.com .


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