(PHN) — The Pittsburgh Penguins ridiculous, and almost absurd battle with injuries this season continued Friday morning. Red-hot winger Bryan Rust was the latest Penguins forward to be injured and will not play Friday night in Columbus after he crashed into the boards during the morning skate.
UPDATE: Reports by Columbus media report Rust had a boot on his left foot and was on crutches.
Juuso Riikola will play forward on Friday. He played three games at forward earlier this season. In a sign that Rust may be out longer than Friday night, the Penguins recalled forward Joseph Blandisi on Friday afternoon.
To add to the darkly comical situation, the Penguins have recently canceled most morning skates but head coach Mike Sullivan canceled practice on Thursday, so the Penguins skated on Friday morning.
Rust has been one of the best Penguins forwards. He has 17 points in his first 14 games, including four points on Wednesday night in the Penguins raucous 8-6 comeback win over the Vancouver Canucks. Rust missed the first month of the season after he suffered an injured hand or wrist after blocking a shot in the Penguins final preseason game.
Bryan Rust is the eighth injury which the forward crew suffered, including the first Rust injury. The Penguins lines have been in flux as Rust, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, and Patric Hornqvist have missed weeks and returned. Captain Sidney Crosby and center Nick Bjugstad are currently out. Jared McCann missed a pair of games earlier this month.
Defenseman Kris Letang recently missed six games. Brian Dumoulin missed multiple weeks and Justin Schultz is currently out, as well.