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Hurting Penguins recall Samuelsson and Zolnierczyk, put Letang on IR

Dec 16, 2013, 9:35 AM EDT

Harry Zolnierczyk AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a myriad of injuries and their last game against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday saw them go without defenseman Kris Letang and lost forward Evgeni Malkin during it.

Defenseman Philip Samuelsson and forward Harry Zolnierczyk have been recalled from the American Hockey League to help fill those holes in the lineup. Letang was placed on injured reserve to make room for them.

With a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at home tonight, the Penguins need bodies. The Penguins were already without forwards Beau Bennett, Tanner Glass, and Andrew Ebbett. Adding Malkin to the mix of the skating wounded up front makes Zolnierczyk a necessity.

Letang missing the game Saturday meant the Pens were without their top four blue liners. Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, and Brooks Orpik are all out with separate injuries and Brian Dumoulin had to make his NHL debut against Detroit. The team

If Samuelsson plays, it’ll be his first game in the league. He was a second-round pick of the Penguins back in 2009. Yes, he is the son of former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson. It’s probably a good thing they’re not facing the Bruins considering Ulf’s history against them.

UPDATE: Letang will be out until after Christmas, according to head coach Dan Bylsma. Same goes for Scuderi (broken ankle). Glass will be back in 3-5 days.

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    In my honest opinion I would’ve traded Letang. He’s too much of a reliability and plus he’s always hurt. Yeah he’s a good defensemen but hasn’t been the true replacement to Gonchar.

    • theageofquarrel - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Liability,he isn’t reliable by any means.

    • bgrillz - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      I thumbs down this post because while you make a decent point, he’s a liability, not a reliability. And he has been a top scoring defenseman, and can skate, which in my view makes him an upgrade to Gonchar.

    • dirt2013 - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      They can still trade him as his new contract has only a 1 year NTC.Without a doubt the Pens will trade a D-men or two in the future for pieces they need.

      • runhigh24 - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        They didn’t sign him just to trade him the next offseason. They’re not the Flyers.

    • jpelle82 - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      hopefully derrick pouliot pans out and the pens can trade letang. with the cap number going up, dont think they would have a problem trading him if gm’s can get past the injury issues. play on the ice aside…i’m just about sick of the injuries, for a guy that trains so hard you would think he would be more durable.

  2. runhigh24 - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Is there anyone left at Wilkes-Barre? Are they holding open tryouts?

    • jpelle82 - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      its getting thin. glad they have drafted so many d-men the last couple years. wishing they hadnt traded morrow for morrow last year though and wondering when we might see pouliot. doumolin played ok, nothing too fantastic to talk about with his game against the wings though

  3. hockey412 - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    One thing is for sure – you don’t trade a young, durable stud defenseman on an entry level contract just to keep an over-priced defensive liability that is always hurt. Letang could be great if he remembered his place and wasnt so injury prone.

    • mmmpierogi - Dec 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I get that you wouldn’t trade a durable stud defenseman on an entry level contract just to keep an over-priced defensive liability, but what about for an over-priced defensive reliability? That’s the million dollar question.

  4. killerpgh - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Are all you people bashing Letang now the same people that were bashing Malkin a month or so ago? My guess is yes….

    • jpelle82 - Dec 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      i was one of malkin’s few defenders on here and it worked out to where i was right. i have been down on letang since the day he signed that new deal though. its dr jekyll and mr hyde with him, he got paid like a consistently solid defender with an offensive upside should get paid (keith) and he’s just a glorified puck mover with inconsistent defensive ability. i wouldnt say he’s as bad as mike green back there but when the points dry up or he goes through slumps which will inevitably happen, his defensive liability and the inexplicable amount of repeated turnovers will keep glaring back at you every time you look at that dollar amount he’s getting. there’s no subjective argument about the fact that he’s injured too much on top of it all.

  5. davepenner - Dec 16, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Boo hoo. The Ducks have been short 4 top D all season long.

    • davepenner - Dec 16, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Thanks for Lovejoy though. ;)

      • jpelle82 - Dec 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        glad to see lovejoy is playing well after fighting for minutes in pittsburgh…plus it was the least the pens could do after the kunitz gift that keeps on giving

  6. steelers88 - Dec 16, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    KillerPGH.
    I wasn’t willing to bash Malkin because I knew he would turn it around. However Letang is a different story. He sucks defensively. Why don’t they move him to wing?

  7. bencia823 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Letang has been injured for most of this season, so his current form shouldn’t be overly criticized. He was a great player for us last year, both offensively and defensively. People assume that he’s a bad defender because he jumps in on the offense a lot, but he is actually one of the better defenders when he is back in the defensive zone. His play is similar to Erik Karlsson last year, in that EK was an elite defenseman before the cooke incident, but when he came back (not 100%), he was getting deked all over the place by Crosby.

    • hazlydose - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      Its not the physical side of the game that is hurting Letang. It is the mental side. He is just making poor decisions again and again this year.

  8. hazlydose - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    If there were any thoughts of trading Letang within the Pens organization they are most likely gone now with the reported cap increase. I’m surprised that Samuelsson was recalled over Harrington, but I don’t follow the baby pens that much, so he could be outplaying him in Wilkes-Barre.

  9. ironman721 - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    So it’s Sidney Crosby and the Scranton Wilks Barre Penguins for a while…

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