The Penguins got one player back from the COVID list but also lost one on Friday with Evan Rodrigues back, but Jeff Carter out again for the second time this season.
This is Carter's second time entering the protocol this season. He missed three games from Oct. 23-28 after testing positive for COVID and being asymptomatic. https://t.co/AFr5fthzk8— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) December 31, 2021
It’s just the next in what will be several more unknown and unforeseen twists and turns for coach Mike Sullivan to continue to navigate.
Coach Sullivan: "We'll try to make the best decisions to continue to accomplish our goals... We'll just have to be ready to adapt. So much of this is out of everybody's control."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 31, 2021
Updates from today's practice: https://t.co/zRkM8DMGpA pic.twitter.com/gxMNyr0A0B
The bright side is Rodrigues is back, after the new adjustments to the NHL’s latest COVID protocol that allows for only five days of isolation for asymptomatic cases like Rodrigues.
To add more healthy bodies, after the Pens have learned Evgeni Malkin will not play in the next game on Sunday, Pittsburgh brought up two more forwards from the AHL.
Angello had been dealing with an injury from earlier in the fall, and had only recently returned to the AHL lineup in Wilkes-Barre, playing four of the recent games, recording one goal and no assists this season. Angello has played 27 games in the NHL over the past two seasons (3G+2A).
Zohorna has also been in Wilkes all season, scoring nine points (4G+5a) in 21 games in the AHL this season. Last year Zohorna showed flashes with four points (2G+2A) in eight NHL games.
Here were the latest new look lines on Friday, prior to the two new players getting to town.
Here is the Penguins' workflow with Carter, Kapanen, Blueger, Marino, Matheson and Simon all currently in COVID protocol (Jarry is there as well):— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) December 31, 2021
The defensemen are rotating.
On the fringes it will be interesting to see what the fourth line looks like tomorrow and if one or both of Angello and Zohorna join Brian Boyle and bump Kasper Bjorkqvist and/or Sam Lafferty to healthy scratch territory, though one will have to play with Malkin coming out of the top-12 for games.
The Pens also have a batch of players that could join Rodrigues in clearing COVID protocol, though that might not happen in time for Sunday’s afternoon game against the Sharks at this point. But who knows what tomorrow might hold for the COVID protocol and for now the lineups and availability of pretty much anyone — including Carter who tested positive in late October — could be at risk of disappearing in a flash.