Penguins Notebook: Roberts healthy but still sitting
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NEW YORK -- Penguins left winger Gary Roberts couldn't remember the last time he had been a healthy scratch and doesn't seem eager for it to happen again, either.
Nonetheless, Roberts -- who had missed the previous four games because of a sore groin -- declined to make an issue of being held out of Game 3.
"It's pretty tough to change our lineup right now," he said. "Our guys have played extremely well. ... Coming off a shutout [2-0, in Game 2 Sunday], you can understand why there are no lineup changes."
This was, in fact, the logic coach Michel Therrien applied in deciding to keep Roberts in street clothes.
"We want Gary Roberts back in our lineup, but we need him at the right time," Therrien said. "Right now, the team is playing so well. To put Gary back in the lineup, who are we going to take out?
"The chemistry is there with the club. We have no reason to take anybody out of the lineup."
When Roberts was injured, his spot in the lineup was filled by Adam Hall, who had a strong performance in Game 2 and scored the empty-net goal that sealed the Penguins' victory.
"At some point, hopefully, I'll get that opportunity to be part of it again," Roberts said. "I'm not going to let it be a distraction for this team, or [detract from] what our guys have accomplished so far."
In addition to Roberts, the Penguins again scratched forwards Jeff Taffe and Kris Beech, defenseman Darryl Sydor and goalie Dany Sabourin.
Malkin in running for Hart
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the NHL's most valuable player in the regular season.
The other finalists are Washington left winger Alexander Ovechkin, an overwhelming favorite to win the Hart, and Calgary right winger Jarome Iginla.
"I'm really proud [of] him," Therrien said. "It's well-deserved."
He described the finalists as "three great candidates who did a lot for their own teams."
Malkin had 47 goals and 59 assists in 82 games to finish second to Ovechkin in the NHL scoring race. Malkin's 15-game scoring streak from Oct. 23-Nov. 22 is the longest in the NHL by a Russian player, and he had 46 points in the 28 games Sidney Crosby missed while recovering from a high ankle sprain.
"He has a lot of talent, a lot of skill, and now he's good at both [ends] of the ice," Therrien said. "He's capable of making great plays that you can't teach."
Malkin is the only Penguins player voted a finalist for the NHL's major trophies, which will be presented at during the league's annual awards show June 12 in Toronto.
Rozsival thrives on Broadway
Michal Rozsival never performed to his potential during his days with the Penguins, at least partly because of medical issues, but has become a major contributor for the New York Rangers in his three seasons in Manhattan.
"As a Penguin, I think he was hurt a little bit and wasn't able to develop the traction that you need, especially at that position," New York coach Tom Renney said. "We recognized his skill level, and we felt that in a system that would benefit him, he could defend just fine.
"We've been patient with that process and given him a chance to step up and be an important part of our back end, to the point where his confidence is where you want it if you want to be a top-end NHL defenseman."
Dim the house lights!
It's not quite like the Capital Centre in Landover, Md., where the seating area was so dark during games that even bats were reluctant to go there.
Even so, Penguins left winger Ryan Malone finds the way the lights are dimmed in the seats at Madison Square Garden to be a bit disconcerting
"It's weird to me, how it's so dark up there," he said. "It reminds me of my old junior rink in Omaha, Neb."
First Published April 30, 2008 12:00 am