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Juuso Riikola misses practice, Derick Brassard moved back to center

The Penguins hit the practice rink this morning with a few changes

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Following the 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in overtime last night, the Penguins hit the practice rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township this morning.

The first thing of notice that came to the eyes of those in attendance was who wasn’t on the ice.

Riikola missing from practice could be a minor issue or it could be a big deal, despite nothing ever really being a big deal to me personally. Hopefully it is just a day of rest for the defenseman and not anything lingering in either the short-term or long-term range. One would assume that if Riikola is not able to play tomorrow night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs that Chad Ruhwedel would be the next defenseman to step into the lineup. If that is the case, I wonder if the Penguins would make another call-up, but that would require sending someone else down.

UPDATE: as it turns out, it is actually not a big deal.

On the offensive side of the ice, we see a little bit of tinkering things around as well.

The big noticeable change here is seeing Bryan Rust in the top line winger position that Derick Brassard had previously been occupying. With a lineup and roster this rich in talent and this deep, especially at the center position, I think this is the time of year that we will see more tinkering and adjusting to try and figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure Derick Brassard wasn't too upset to be playing with Sidney Crosby while he is in a contract year, but things didn’t work out for a game, so they’ll try something else.

My other takeaway here is that keeping the line of Carl Hagelin, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel together is good news. I love that combination. Even though I love it, it’s still no big deal to me.