Penguins Notebook: Bad news bearers
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Although the Penguins training staff by all accounts consists of competent, likeable fellows, Penguins coach Michel Therrien understandably might cringe every time one of them approaches him.
- Matchup: Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers, 7:08 p.m. today, Wachovia Center, Philadelphia.
- TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).
- Probable goaltenders: Ty Conklin for Penguins. Martin Biron for Flyers.
- Penguins: Are 1-0-1 since C Sidney Crosby got hurt, 1-2-3 all time without him. ... F Evgeni Malkin has 11 goals, 4 assists in past 9 games. ... Through yesterday, D Sergei Gonchar led league with 22 power-play assists and was tied for lead with 26 power-play points.
- Flyers: Are 10-2-2 in past 14 games. ... Had best power play at home (27.2 percent) through yesterday but are among the worst penalty killing at home (79.2 percent). ... C Mike Richards has 4 of team's 9 short-handed goals.
- Hidden stat: Philadelphia gave up most goals this season in 7-2 loss Tuesday to New Jersey.
They seem to bring a stream of bad news.
"It's every day," Therrien said yesterday, when it was announced that rookie forward Tyler Kennedy is the latest player to get hit with the injury/illness bug.
Kennedy, who has missed the past two games, was diagnosed with mononucleosis. He is out indefinitely and will miss playing in the YoungStars Game portion of the NHL All-Star activities this weekend. He will be replaced in the game by New Jersey winger David Clarkson.
That news came a day after the Penguins announced that center, captain and leading scorer Sidney Crosby will miss six to eight weeks because of a high ankle sprain.
The other players who are out are goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (high ankle sprain), forwards Gary Roberts (broken leg) and Adam Hall (groin) and defenseman Mark Eaton (knee surgery).
For the season, 13 players have missed at least one game because injury and illness.
Winger Colby Armstrong hopes to come back from a bruised hip tonight when the Penguins play in Philadelphia.
"I'm feeling better every day," he said after he participated in practice at Mellon Arena. "It's kind of a weird thing to have happen, but there's not much you can do for it."
Armstrong got hurt Saturday when he went hard into the boards. He then missed Monday's 6-5 shootout loss to Washington.
Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu picked up his third diving penalty of the season Saturday night against Montreal.
That could have meant a one-game suspension under NHL rules, but league officials apparently saw things differently from the referees who called the infractions.
Rule 64.3 states that players who dive or embellish will receive a warning on the first offense, a $1,000 fine on the second and a one-game suspension on the third, pending a phone conversation with the director of hockey operations, with the suspensions then doubling for each subsequent occurrence.
The rule, though, says the league's discipline for diving stems from a review of game videos and is independent of calls made on the ice. That provides a bit of validation for Ruutu, who said he has not been fined or heard from director of hockey operations Colin Campbell or anyone else from the league.
"I think they were really bad calls," said Ruutu, who in addition to the diving penalty against the Canadiens picked up two in a game Nov. 22 in Ottawa.
"I've done that kind of thing in the past, and I decided a couple years ago I'm not going to do it again. I still have the reputation, I guess. I have to live with it."
With a nod and a smile, forward Evgeni Malkin confirmed that he gladly accepted the NHL's invitation to take Crosby's spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. • Penguins winger Ryan Malone has a great appreciation for Malkin, who seems to be the consensus choice to fill in as the team's top player during Crosby's absence. "It's a privilege to have a guy like Geno in our lineup," Malone said. "You never really think going into a season that you might lose one of your star players. We're very fortunate to have another player like that who can change the game." • Penguins prospect Alex Goligoski has been selected to represent Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the American Hockey League All-Star Classic Sunday and Monday in Binghampton, N.Y. Goligoski, a defenseman, has 14 points for the Baby Penguins.
First Published January 24, 2008 12:00 am