The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forward Joseph Blandisi from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on an emergency basis, according to Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the Penguins 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night due to illness and was kept home from practice again on Friday. The Penguins have not confirmed Malkin will miss Saturday night against the LA Kings. Head coach Mike Sullivan will speak with the media in his pre-game media availability at 5 p.m.
Several Penguins have missed a game or practice with the illness, including Jack Johnson and Chad Ruhwedel.
Blandisi has three points (1g, 2a) in 12 NHL games this season. He was demoted Friday morning.
The most obvious reason Blandisi would be recalled is Malkin is still dealing with the illness, however, another player could have contracted it. Also, Penguins winger Brandon Tanev was in pain after he blocked a shot in practice on Friday.
The Penguins are the second most injured team in the NHL. They trail only the Detroit Red Wings but the Penguins injuries comprise a more significant portion of their lineup. The Penguins dubiously rank first overall in significant injuries.
The team will face the LA Kings Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena. Malkin’s friend and fellow Russian Illya Kovalchuk may be making his final trip with LA. There is rampant speculation that Kovalchuk will leave the LA Kings to return to the KHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently in the first Wild-Card position, one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers, and tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for third place in the Metro Division. However, Carolina has one more win and one game in hand.