The Pittsburgh Penguins had a considerable bit of news to share on Saturday, however unfortunately the biggest news of the day is certainly going to be received poorly by the Penguins fan base.
First and foremost the Penguins announced a pair of line up changes on Saturday, line up changes that are being prompted by a returning Penguins player. Unfortunately for 27 year old forward Garrett Wilson he finds himself on the wrong end of the line up changes and he will be sent back to the American Hockey League after just 4 games with the Penguins this season. Through those 4 games Wilson accounted for no goals and no assists and added 2 penalty minutes on the score sheet while seeing minimal use under head coach Mike Sullivan. To Wilson's credit he did boast a an even plus minus rating of 0 through those 4 games so it's not like he was a liability when used by Sullivan.
Wilson's demotion is almost certainly motivated by the return of veteran forward Derick Brassard who, according to an official report from the Pittsburgh Penguins, has been activated off of injured reserve and is now set to face off against his former team, the Ottawa Senators, for the first time since he was traded to the Penguins last season. Brassard has missed the last 9 games as a result of an injury and has been listed as a game time decision by head coach Mike Sullivan, that being said I believe that Sullivan may merely be playing coy here.
According to a report from Senators reporter Brent Wallace of TSN Brassard will in fact play tonight, and when you consider the fact that Wilson is being sent back down to the American Hockey League that report makes a great deal of sense. Wilson would not have been sent down unless the Penguins needed to clear an additional roster spot and that unfortunately is where the bad news comes in.
That open roster spot could potentially have signaled the return of captain Sidney Crosby to the line up but unfortunately that will not be the case. Wallace is reporting that in spite of the fact that Crosby skated this morning, a good sign to be sure, he will not be playing tonight when the Penguins face off against the Senators. No timeline has been placed on Crosby's return, but with him skating today he likely is not that far away.