Penguins defenseman Daley's status for Friday's game unclear
February 11, 2016 8:00 PM
The Penguins' Trevor Daley skates up the ice against the Bruins during a December game at Consol Energy Center.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Penguins have ruled out a major injury to defenseman Trevor Daley after he got tangled with New York Rangers forward Jesper Fast Wednesday and slammed, back-first, into the goal post like a human bowling ball.
It’s unclear whether he will be available for the game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. A game-day decision will be made this morning, coach Mike Sullivan said.
“He was evaluated by the doctors. … He’ll be a game-time decision. But anything significant has been ruled out,” Sullivan said after an optional off-ice workout Thursday. “Obviously, we’re a little banged up right now, so the more people we can keep healthy and keep in our lineup the better.”
The Penguins lost Daley after just seven shifts and 3:43 of ice time and were forced to rotate five defensemen the rest of the game.
It briefly revived memories of last spring when injures and salary-cap issues created the same problem.
“Yes, that was very difficult,” defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “But it’s much different when you have a guy go out with an injury. I think everybody rallies around that, and feels like they can pick up a little more slack so we can try to win the game.”
If Daley can’t play tonight or is out for any length of time, the door presumably would open again for defenseman Ian Cole, who has spent seven consecutive games as a healthy scratch. Cole said he has tried to stay ready by practicing with game-like intensity.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “Obviously, you want to be playing. Just working hard in practice and trying to stay as sharp as you can; it’s essentially turned into your game.”
Cole said he has gotten feedback from the coaching staff regarding what he can do better and awaits an opportunity to put it into motion.
“Ian and I have had a few conversations that I’d like to keep between us,” Sullivan said. “You know it’s never easy to tell a guy that he can’t be in the lineup. We feel as though we’ve got seven or eight defensemen that we think can help us win. We’ll utilize each and every one of those guys, and Ian’s one of those guys. He’s played some good hockey for us. He’s been a good soldier as far as preparing himself to be ready when the time comes.
“As a player, that’s all you can do, is control your own circumstance, control your attitude, your approach every day. I think he’s done a really good job.”
Daley, who was not available Thursday, has fit into the Penguins defense seamlessly since he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in December for Rob Scuderi.
“He’s come in and been great for us,” Lovejoy said. “If he’s out, we will absolutely miss him, but we feel comfortable defensively that we have plenty of depth.”
He then deadpanned: “I think Kris Letang can absorb a few more minutes, maybe play 45 to 50.”
Noteworthy: Penguins D Trevor Daley (upper body injury) will travel to Carolina, but is questionable for the game. …The Penguins are coming off a 3-0 shutout by the New York Rangers. … Sidney Crosby’s 12 points, 7 goals lead the NHL in February production. … Chris Kunitz is on a five-point road-game streak (3 goals, 2 assists). … Hurricanes D Justin Faulk, who leads the team with 34 points, left practice with an injury Thursday. His status is unclear for tonight. … Faulk also leads the league with 12 power-play goals.
Did you know? The Hurricanes are planning a reunion this weekend to mark 10 years since winning the Stanley Cup.
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com and Twitter @JennMenendez.
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