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Baby Pens Scratch Brian Strait and Robert Bortuzzo

According to our buddy Tony, @H_P_Hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have made their usual top defensive pairing, Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait, healthy scratches for their AHL game tonight.


Bortuzzo has six games of NHL experience, all from last year. He's expected to be a contender for a roster spot and under the terms of the last CBA he would have to clear waivers to make it back to the minor leagues, leaving many to believe that he would be kept in Pittsburgh if they decide to keep eight defenseman on their 23-man roster.

Strait has 12 career NHL games, including nine last season. He also played in Pittsburgh's last three playoff games. Like Bortuzzo, Strait probably is waiver eligible and also expected to contribute to the defensive logjam that Pittsburgh has.

Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Paul Martin and Deryk Engelland all have opening night spots in the lineup locked up, given they stay healthy. That leaves one sweater for Bortuzzo, Strait, Ben Lovejoy and Simon Despres to battle it out for. With nine defensemen one of them (likely Despres) could be sent back to Wilkes-Barre following the lockout-shortened training camp.