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Penguins Practice: Sullivan Shuffles Defense Pairs, Lines

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Pittsburgh Penguins defense pairs, Kris Letang

The Pittsburgh Penguins rolled out some new forward lines and defensive pairings Tuesday at practice.

While the top two lines remained the same, which is no shock, the bottom lines were shuffled. The team had enough players to have five lines.

Jeff Carter, who has been out because of an injury, centered Danton Heinen and Brock McGinn; Ryan Poehling, who was ill Sunday and missed practice, centered just-recalled Filip Hallander and Josh Archibald; and Teddy Blueger, who is on LTIR but eligible to be activated, centered Sam Poulin and Kasperi Kapanen.

It should be noted that Blueger, Poulin and Kapanen were the only players in white jerseys, which could signify that they are limited in some way. Kapanen skating on that line would represent a demotion from the third line if he is not dealing with an injury or illness.

The top two lines, as usual, were Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell.

On defense, Marcus Pettersson skated with Kris Letang. Brian Dumoulin, who has been a fixture on the top pairing with Letang for years but who has seemed to struggle last season and this, skated with Jan Rutta. P.O Joseph skated with Jeff Petry. Chad Ruhwedel rotated in on the new third pairing.

The Penguins have lost seven straight games (0-6-1) going into a game Wednesday at rival Washington. Whether these combinations, or some of them, remain in place for that game remains to be seen.

The players and coach Mike Sullivan could address the changes after practice.

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Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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Frank
Frank
19 days ago

When does it set in with the front office that Kapanen is a career slug in two cities?

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
19 days ago
Reply to  Frank

trade for anyone/anything at this point. The unfortunate, but glaring TRUTH.

Imagine still having Jared McCann over Kappy.

Rob
Rob
19 days ago
Reply to  maybeTROLLn

Rutherford seems anxious to trade not being happy with his team.

Rob
Rob
19 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Should demote him to the farm team but I guess they won’t because of his overpaid salary..

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
19 days ago

PHN — what do we think about the Rakell and Rust line chemistry/production after roughly splitting time on Sid and Geno’s lines?

Knobman
Knobman
19 days ago
Reply to  maybeTROLLn

Good point. I thought both lines had great numbers with Rakell on the first and Rust on the second? Switch it back Sully.

JICS
19 days ago
Reply to  Knobman

Sid and Rakell have great chemistry which showed in the first few games. Rust is a good player but not so much with Sid. He plays petty much his own game, unless playing like Malkin demands his wingers to play.

Rob
Rob
19 days ago
Reply to  Knobman

That’s when it seemed the Pens went South when they switched Rakell for Rust on the first line.

concerned
concerned
18 days ago

time to put geno on the wing

shakham
shakham
18 days ago
Reply to  concerned

and who is your new #2 C? Carter? Blueger?

Last edited 18 days ago by shakham
Rob
Rob
18 days ago
Reply to  concerned

Malkin is not part of the problem. Sitting at 12 points, 2 behind Crosby for the team lead. Moving him to a wing with a much less productive center would do nothing to help the team.