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The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to take goalkeeper Casey DeSmith for Sunday’s home game against the New York Rangers in start the PPG Paints Arena.
In seven games this season DeSmith has a 4: 2: 0 record as well as 2.73 goals against the average and a saving of 0.893 percent.
At 6 feet and 181 pounds, DeSmith is one of the smaller goalkeepers in the NHL. Based on late January rosters, the average heights of the goalkeepers are 6-foot-2.5 and 200.1 pounds.
« Casey, although he is not very tall, is very athletic and I think that allows him to be successful at this level, » said coach Mike Sullivan via videoconference. “His post-to-post speed, his ability to read games, understand when to be aggressive and take the angle of fire, or when to play a little deeper to get over the crease on a backdoor option, things me think only his readings help him, along with his athleticism, to achieve success. «
• After missing 16 games due to an unknown injury, Penguin striker Evan Rodrigues returned to the line-up in Saturday’s 4-3 home win against the Philadelphia Flyers.
He ran mostly on the fourth line, logged 10 minutes, 39 seconds of ice time in 16 shifts and was 2 for 4 in faceoffs. He also made a few appearances in the power play (43 seconds) and on penalties (5:15).
« He had a good game, » said Sullivan. « He hadn’t played in (16) games. It’s not an easy experience throwing yourself into the game environment like that. He had a really strong game. He played (10:39), we used him on penalties, I did used him five on five. He helped us to defend the lead in the end so that with Teddy Blueger’s line I can have two middle ice makers on the ice, both a left-footer and a right-footer (for faceoffs). »
The malleability of Rodrigues, who can play all three forward positions, is very appealing to Sullivan.
« This is the stuff I think Evan values what he brings to our team, » said Sullivan. « He’s such a versatile player, he’s a natural center, so he’s at a comfortable level when he plays there. » We could play him in the middle if we want. He can faceoffs and is pretty good at it. And he’s a right-handed too, which we don’t often have, so he can faceoff on that right side to pull on his backhand. He can play the grand piano. We can improve the lineup. He has an offensive instinct to play in our top 6 (strikers) when we need him. But he also has a defensive conscience and a defensive consciousness. We used him in the penalty shoot-out, we used him in the second power play (unit). So he’s really a utility player that we can use in so many different circumstances depending on what the team needs. »
• The penguins had an optional morning skate. The Rangers didn’t have a morning skate.
Seth Rorabaugh is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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