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Game 20 Preview: Dan Bylsma talks about Mark Eaton

A game preview for the Penguins vs. the Florida Panthers. Coach Dan Bylsma updates on Mark Eaton and if the Pens plan to carry eight defensemen and gives a quick non-update update on Evgeni Malkin.

Justin K. Aller

For updates and perspective on the Florida Panthers, be sure to go over to Litter Box Cats and check out what our SBN friends have over there.

According to coach Dan Bylsma speaking to the press today, the Pittsburgh Penguins are in a “different situation in a shortened season” and that’s one of the reasons the team decided to sign veteran defenseman Mark Eaton. Bylsma said that the deadline is at a different point in the season and that it probably would “cost a lot to be able to add a veteran defenseman” through a trade, which made signing a free agent a better option for the team.

Carrying eight defenseman on the NHL roster “is not ideal” but the Pens are happy to be adding a veteran who knows the team and how they play from his last stint in Pittsburgh. “The opportunity to [add a veteran defenseman] now is something that [the Pens] might not be able” to do later in the season.

“Rotating two guys in and out of the lineup is not ideal for the players,” Bylsma conceded, as it sounds like the Penguins have no plans to send either youngster Simon Despres or Robert Bortuzzo down to the minor leagues. Bylsma also pointed out earlier in this season the Penguins had eight defenseman and quickly were down to having just six due to injuries suffered by Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen.

Eaton will not play tonight, there is no rush to get him into the lineup and no schedule to get him in. Bylsma has liked seeing Eaton in practice, but there is no plan right now as to when he gets in the lineup.

Tomas Vokoun will be playing tonight, against a former team of his. Jose Theodore is expected in the net for Florida.

-- On Evgeni Malkin- there is not a specific schedule right now for Evgeni Malkin, Byslma offered nothing about if he’s doing any working out now. Mentioned rest as a key for Malkin right now, given that he suffered a concussion less than a week ago.