Penguins' Scuderi will need ankle surgery


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi will be out indefinitely because of a broken ankle.

Coach Dan Bylsma said after the Penguins' 3-1 victory Monday night against Carolina at PNC Arena that Scuderi will require surgery and declined to put a timetable on his recovery period.

The news came out after Scuderi traveled Monday to Pittsburgh and was examined by team doctors, but the Penguins already were prepared to be without him for an extended period.

His teammates knew they would be dealing with a significant void on their blue line for an extended period, even if they weren't aware of the precise prognosis.

Even though Scuderi plays a no-frills game, he has been a major contributor to their success this season.

"Defensively, he's pretty calm and poised back there," center Sidney Crosby said. "He brings a lot of experience and keeps the game pretty simple. That's always something that is contagious."

Scuderi, injured on a hit Saturday from Toronto winger David Clarkson, had appeared in 276 consecutive games before sitting out one Monday against Carolina.

He averaged 19 minutes, 12 seconds of ice time during the first 11 games and was tied for third on the team with 19 blocked shots.

"He's proven he can win, and he knows how to play his game," defenseman Paul Martin said. "He's smart, he moves the puck and he plays great defense.

"We all appreciate what he does. As an outsider looking in, you don't recognize that as much, maybe. Until it's gone."

Big trade was big surprise

High-impact trades don't often happen early in the NHL, but Buffalo and the New York Islanders pulled one off Sunday.

The Sabres sent winger Thomas Vanek to Long Island for winger Matt Moulson, a first-round draft choice and a second-round selection.

Buffalo is rebuilding, and there has been rampant speculation for weeks that prominent veterans such as Vanek and goalie Ryan Miller would be auctioned off. Still, the timing of the deal caught most of the rest of the league off-guard.

"I didn't see that one coming, that's for sure," Crosby said. "I guess both guys are [about to qualify for unrestricted free agency], so maybe it made sense for both teams."

Just another opponent

The game Monday marked the fifth time Carolina center Jordan Staal has faced the Penguins since they traded him in 2012, and he acknowledged that he's moving toward the point where he views them, in large part, as just another divisional opponent.

"It's getting there," he said, smiling. "We've played and see each other enough, so that there are bigger things out there. There obviously still are some faces over there that I know, but there's a bigger picture. Each team really wants these two points."

Staal, who centers Carolina's No. 2 line, had one goal and two assists in 11 games before facing the Penguins.

Admiring Crosby

Crosby entered Monday as the NHL's leading scorer, with 18 points in 11 games. And, while opposing coaches likely don't enjoy trying to devise ways to neutralize him, they seem to recognize and appreciate the qualities that make him such a force in every game.

"He seems like he's very into every game," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "He does his work, as far as preparation.

"When that game hits, it looks like the only thing on his mind is that game. He seems like a pretty focused player. Each game, he knows his opponent. ... He's ready to play and he's got the skill level to add to it."

Dave Molinari: and Twitter @MolinariPG.

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