The Penguins made a flurry of roster moves Tuesday, what’s going on?

Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Sidney Crosby was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list and P.O. Joseph was sent back to the taxi squad Tuesday afternoon to highlight the Penguins’ roster moves

On the triumphant night that Penguins fans will finally be allowed back at PPG Paints Arena, Sidney Crosby will be unable to take the ice with his teammates due to COVID protocols as the Pens take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

While Crosby might not actually have contracted COVID, there are a number of reasons why Crosby may have been placed on the list.

  • Crosby may have a positive test which will be unconfirmed until full testing is complete
  • Crosby may have shown symptoms, which requires a mandatory isolation
  • Crosby may have been a high-risk contact who requires a mandatory quarantine
  • Isolation from confirmed  positive test and/or isolation for travel
  • Or, any other required reasons in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol

Regardless, Crosby will be unable to play against the Flyers Tuesday night, and if his stay on the protocol list is prolonged, he may miss the entire three-game series.

Crosby is just the second Pens player to be added to the COVID protocol list, following John Marino, who was added to the list in early February. The encouraging news from the Marino case is that he only spent two days on the list and did not miss any games.

The Penguins can only hope that Crosby’s absence will last one game at this point since he’s been by far the most consistent skater on the roster this season. Shockingly, I know. With Crosby out against the Flyers Tuesday, the lineup has already been shaken up.

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Pierre-Olivier Joseph from the Penguins and Frederick Gaudreau from the Baby Penguins have been placed on the taxi squad, and Drew O’Connor and Josh Currie have been recalled from the taxi squad to the main roster for Tuesday’s contest.

The Joseph move is particularly surprising as he’s been such a vital part of the Penguins blueline this season. As one of the few Pens defenders on a two-way contract this season, it does make the most sense to send him to the taxi squad and not risk losing a defender for free. That, of course, points to a potential trade in the future once Brian Dumoulin and Juuso Riikola return from the injured reserve in the coming days.

Joseph likely won’t remain on the taxi squad long, since he should be a fixture in the Penguins lineup, or at the very least, be playing top pairing minutes down in Wilkes-Barre.

In the meantime, Evgeni Malkin will likely slide to the top-line center spot, with Teddy Blueger, Jared McCann and perhaps Sam Lafferty slotting into the remaining center lines.

With Joseph out of the lineup, newly acquired Mark Friedman is the prime candidate to make his debut with the Pens as Dumoulin and Riikola have not been activated off the long-term injured reserve yet.

The unpredictability and volatility of COVID have been on full display today as the Penguins lineup has been totally shaken up, with key players moved off the active roster and depth players taking their spots.

COVID is still here, and it will most likely continue to affect the lineup throughout the rest of this season. The Penguins and their fans need to continue to remain vigilant in the fight against this pandemic.

Next. Read up on how the Penguins are entering a crucial stretch of their season. dark

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