For now, however, it appears Crosby will have a star winger on his line for the first time since Marian Hossa skated briefly with him in 2008.
Coach Johnston says Phil Kessel will most likely start with Sidney Crosby on the right side, but things could change.
“We’re looking at Crosby with Kessel and [Evgeni] Malkin with Patric Hornqvist”, Johnston said prior to the Penguins Alumni Charity Golf Event at Valley Brook Country Club.
Johnston also left open the possibility that he would use Kessel with Malkin and Hornqvist with Crosby.
Kessel was the marquee addition during a busy but fruitful summer for Pittsburgh, which made the post-season for the ninth straight season, but managed all of eight goals while falling to the New York Rangers in five games. So don’t get enamored if some practice, there are some different combinations. “We want to try combinations together so we’re ready for the beginning of the season”. He also sounded enthusiastic about the idea of Pascal Dupuis, who missed all but 16 games last season due to a blood clot, joining the fray. He is unsure about who will play left wing on each of the top-two lines; the leading candidates are David Perron, Beau Bennett, Chris Kunitz and rookie Sergei Plotnikov. “It’s been nearly two years he has had off but he’s been encouraging”.
“We’re definitely deeper”, Rutherford said. “I really like what I see so far.”. His only meaningful update was regarding the status of injured newcomer Eric Fehr.
“We’ll definitely be able to open it up”, Rutherford said.
“You can’t even find a lot of (GMs) if you call them right now,” he said with a laugh. “Probably into camp or a month or so into the season.”. “He paid to get out of his contract in Russian Federation and now he and his wife are over here early trying to get acclimated”.
“We’re really not working on anybody right now,” he said.