Surprisingly nobody else has mention that Robert Bortuzzo has been placed on a 3-game Conditioning assignment and sent down to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Bortuzzo hadn't played since February 28th against the Carolina Hurricanes, and the recent additions of Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray have made it that much more difficult for him to get ice time. So the stint in WBS for conditioning is a much needed change to keep him in shape for the playoffs.
Tonight was Bortuzzo's first game back with the Baby Pens since the lockout ended and he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins for training camp. Bortuzzo netted an Assist and a +2 rating in the Baby Pens 4-2 victory over divisional rivals the Binghamton Senators ronight. The Baby Pens went 1 for 7 on the PP, but managed a perfect 4 for 4 on the PK, on which Bortuzzo managed to lend a hand. Bylsma and Shero have both stated that they consider Bortuzzo to be an integral part of the NHL roster and that he will still be up playing a role on their playoff run.
In related news, Penguins unsigned D prospect Alex Velischek (2009 5th Round #123) has just signed on to play for the Penguins ECHL affiliate Wheeling Nailers. Velischek just finished his senior year with the Providence College Friars, leading the team with a +17 rating as well as netting 6 assists while playing in all 38 games. Hockey's Future lists him as a 2-way D, but states that playing in a defensively focused system it is hard to gauge what to expect from him offensively. However, he seems to have done fairly well in his own end.
In his first game with the Nailers tonight, Velischek had 2 Assists and a +1 rating in the 6-2 victory over the Elmira Jackals. Unfortunately, the Nailers are 10th in the East with only 2 games remaining in the season, so his short stint in the ECHL is about to come to a close. However, he may join other ECHL roster players as they get called up to join AHL affiliates for a playoff run, and the Penguins do have 30 days post-graduation to determine whether or not they plan to sign him to an entry level deal or allow him to become a free agent.