Penguins notebook: Maatta sidelined 'week to week' with undisclosed injury
March 26, 2016 1:06 AM
Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will be sidelined week to week due to an undisclosed injury.
By Seth Rorabaugh / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Penguins received a hard lesson on defensive depth late last season, when injuries ravaged the defense and forced them to play several games with only five defensemen.
They’ll get a refresher course in the upcoming weeks with defenseman Olli Maatta being forced out on a ‘‘week-to-week” basis due to an undisclosed injury.
Coach Mike Sullivan provided few details on the injury beyond describing it as “lower body” and saying it happened in the 3-0 home loss Thursday night against New Jerseys. Maatta finished the game and was on the ice for the final shift.
Maatta, 21, has played 67 games this season and has 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists). Primarily serving as a partner to Kris Letang on the team’s top defensive pairing. Maatta has averaged 19:57 of ice time per game, third most on the Penguins.
Maatta’s absence at practice Friday at Consol Energy Center impacted all three of the team’s defensive pairings. Letang worked with Trevor Daley while Ben Lovejoy was reunited with Brian Dumoulin on the second pairing. Ian Cole, Derrick Pouliot and Justin Schultz rotated on the third.
“We have some ideas on how we’re going to use people,” Sullivan said. “We talked at length about that this morning. We’ll see how it goes.
“Olli is a good player. I think he’s had a good chemistry with [Letang]. He’s a guy that we’re going to miss, but having said that, it’s a great opportunity for some of the guys to step in here and fill the void and step up and help this team. We believe we have some depth at defense. We’ve got capable people that we’re going to move into the lineup. It’s a great opportunity for them to help us win.”
Bonino suffers injury
Center Nick Bonino suffered an undisclosed injury in practice, and his status for the game today in Detroit is questionable.
There was no word on the nature or severity of his injury, but general manager Jim Rutherford said Bonino went to Detroit and would be evaluated in the morning. With center Evgeni Malkin out with an undisclosed long-term injury, Bonino has served as the team’s No. 2 center.
Bonino’s injury prompted the Penguins to call up center Oskar Sundqvist from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hours after they had assigned him to their American Hockey League affiliate. Sundqvist, 22, has played in 12 NHL games this season and has one assist. He has been called up to the NHL level three times this season.
Fehr on Bennett
Eric Fehr centered the fourth line with left winger Conor Sheary and right winger Beau Bennett against the Devils. That line was on the ice for New Jersey’s third goal, but Fehr liked what he saw playing with Bennett, who returned from a right shoulder injury which kept him out 42 of the previous 43 games.
“I thought we had a lot of great opportunities,” Fehr said. “We probably had three or four really good scoring chances. We didn’t play in our [defensive] zone at all except for the one goal they got, but that was just a quick break. I really liked our line.
“If we play a little bit together more, I think we’ll be able to do some damage. We’ll get used to a couple of our tendencies. I really liked he way Beau protects the puck. He hangs on to it and makes skilled plays.”
Seth Rorabaugh: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @emptynetters.
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