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Penguins Injury Updates: Rodrigues Apparently Avoids Serious Injury



Pittsburgh Penguins Evan Rodrigues, Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Tanev

It was uncomfortable to watch, and viewers could almost feel the pain that Evan Rodrigues felt when Mike Matheson’s slap shot made direct contact with the inside of Rodrigues’ skate. The Pittsburgh Penguins winger went down in obvious and severe pain.

It took several moments and additional help to get Rodrigues off the ice and to the locker room. He did not return to the game on Thursday as the Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 in OT. However, either head coach Mike Sullivan is downplaying the injury because it’s playoff time, or Rodrigues escaped serious injury.

“Right now, his status is day-to-day with a lower-body injury,” said Sullivan. “We’ll update you each day with respect to Evan.”

And that was it. One would think if Rodrigues suffered a more severe injury, he would have been placed on IR or termed week-to-week, or Sullivan’s recent go-to, “longer-term.”

Perhaps the injury bug spared the Penguins for once.

Sullivan also offered a soft update on center Evgeni Malkin, a full participant in practice on Wednesday, and winger Brandon Tanev, who GM Ron Hextall expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

“Geno skated again today. Tans skated again today. They’re making progress, and at this point, their status has not changed. When that happens, we’ll let you guys know,” Sullivan replied.

Tanev returned to the Penguins lineup on April 1 after missing a few weeks with an upper-body injury. However, he left the lineup again on April 3, also with an upper-body injury. The Penguins have not specifically linked the two absences.

Evgeni Malkin was injured on March 16 against the Boston Bruins. In the midst of a season revival-type hot streak, Boston defenseman Jared Tinordi leveled Malkin with a clean open-ice hit near the corner wall. Replays showed Malkin’s leg bend awkwardly, and he has been out since with a lower-body injury.

This season, Malkin overcame a slow start to score 24 points (8-16-24) in 29 games. The Pittsburgh Penguins have five games remaining in the regular season and clinched a playoff berth on Thursday night. They are currently tied with the Washington Capitals atop the East Division. Washington is ahead with a better winning percentage via one game in hand.

The Penguins and Capitals tussle again on Saturday. On Thursday morning, Sullivan termed Malkin a “game-time decision,” so that designation is unlikely to change, but Malkin is still on LTIR.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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8 months ago

This is good news on Rodrigues. Not only on an individual note as he’s having a good season, but for the team. If they are going to roll four lines and beat heavier more physical teams with speed, having Rodrigues on the third or fourth line will really help.

SD Pens Fan
SD Pens Fan(@sd-pens-fan)
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

When Malkin and Tanev are healthy, I don’t think Rodrigues plays. I think Gaudreau and Blueger play wing/center making one hell of a 4th line with Tanev on the other wing. Gaudreau is more valuable than Rodrugues because he is a center and kills penalties.

8 months ago
Reply to  SD Pens Fan

Maybe. But if they want to max speed and flexibility, I think he plays. If all are healthy, I actually think Gaudreau might be the odd man out.


I could see flipping Zucker and McCann depending on how they want to balance things. But with all healthy, Rust, Blueger, Carter, ZAR, and Rodrigues are your PK. Gaudreau could slot in and I would be cool with it. But I think having Rodrigues in allows you to juggle things a bit more depending on who’s hot and injuries. Just my opinion.

8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Assuming everyone is healthy I see the lines like this. Guentzel-Crosby-Rust McCann-Malkin-Kapanen Zucker-Carter-ERod Zar-Blue-Tanev The good thing about all of this is there are options. I think the Buzsaw line is proven. Will it take a game or two to get it clicking again due to Tanev being out for awhile, sure, but there is a positive history there which I believe won’t take long to gel again. ERod has surpassed my expectations and has the speed and hands to really play up and down the lineup, but with everyone hopefully being healthy the third line seems the right spot… Read more »

8 months ago
Reply to  FlipPensFan

Fair points. But for all the talk of Zucker struggling, he has still made plays. He assisted Gaudreau’s goal. He can be a force on the forecheck. Personally, I don’t see Tanev, if healthy, on the fourth line unless minutes are falling pretty evenly there. Rodrigues adds more speed and finish to a fourth line and Tanev fits nicely with Carter. I only put Zucker with Malkin because I suspect they like what they see with McCann and Carter. If I were coaching, I would try to keep some familiarity for Carter when Malkin returns. That said, McCann started his… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Steve

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