The streaking Pittsburgh Penguins loaded up by trading for power forwards Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow before the NHL trade deadline. They also added physical defenseman Douglas Murray.
But that additional firepower could be offset by the loss of offensive defenseman Paul Martin to an unspecified broken upper body bone. He will miss the rest of the regular season and the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs as well.
With offensive defenseman Kris Letang (upper body injury) also on injured reserve, the Penguins are scrambling to assemble three viable pairings. Martin and Letang are quarterbacks on the mighty Pittsburgh power play and key players at even strength.
Letang could return within a week or two.
For now, coach Dan Bylsma is going with Matt Niskanen on the top pairing with workhorse Brooks Orpik. Mark Eaton is teaming with Murray and Deryk Engelland is playing with rookie Simon Despres.
“That will kind of be the way it looks," Bylsma told Pittsburgh reporters. “But also . . . there will be some rotating in terms of responsibilities over the next three, four, five games.”
High-scoring defenseman Kris Letang missed three Penguins game with concussion-like symptoms.
Finally the team got around to diagnosing him with a concussion and placed him under the league’s protocol for such injuries. As Pens fans learned with the long-running Sidney Crosby saga, Letang now faces an uncertain immediate future.
So does defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who was also diagnosed with a concussion three games after he suffered his initial injury. The Penguin provided no clues as to the severity of either concussion.
Letang has 19 points in 22 games, putting him in a tie for fourth among the top-scoring defensemen in the NHL this season. Michalek has four points in 14 games this year.
Among the Penguins seeking to pick up their place in their absence: Puck-moving defenseman Paul Martin, who last scored a goal on Dec. 4, 2010.
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