In a sure sign the Pittsburgh Penguins will not get Sidney Crosby or anyone else back in the lineup Friday night in Nashville, the Penguins recalled forwards Joseph Blandisi, Thomas Di Pauli, and defenseman Kevin Czuczman from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL on Friday morning, according to Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
Injured Penguins Sidney Crosby, Nick Bjugstad, and Patric Hornqvist were skating on their own before the holiday break, according to head coach Mike Sullivan.
Blandisi, 25, has four points (2g, 2a) in 16 NHL games this season, including a breakaway goal in Edmonton on Dec. 20.
Di Pauli, 25, has not yet made his NHL debut. His recall for the final games of the Penguins western Canada road trip before the holiday break was his first time with the NHL club during the regular season. He has nine points (5g, 4a) in 20 AHL games this season.
Di Pauli was a fourth-round draft choice (100th overall) by the Washington Capitals in 2012. He was a teammate of Penguins winger Bryan Rust for two seasons at Notre Dame, and signed with the Penguins as a college free agent before the 2016-17 season. However, back injuries have curtailed his professional career. The speedy and physical winger has played only 128 games over three-plus seasons with the WBS Penguins.
Czuczman (pronounced Churchman), has 13 NHL games on his resume. He played those games with the New York Islanders is 2013-14 as a rookie out of Lake Superior State. Czuczman had two assists but has not played in the NHL since.
With the WBS Penguins, Czuczman has eight points (1g, 7a) in 21 games. It is his third season with the Penguins organization.
The Pittsburgh Penguins play the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena Friday night. The game will end the Penguins five-day holiday break. The Penguins are currently the second Wild-Card team in the Eastern Conference, however, they are tied with Carolina at 46 points. The Penguins also have a game in hand.
The puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday night.