The upper-body injury suffered by Ben Lovejoy in Saturday’s game against the Bolts will keep him out of the lineup for quite some time, per Pens head coach Mike Sullivan.
“It’s long term. As I said in the past, I’m not going to put a time frame on it, but it’s of the longer term nature,” Sullivan said, per the Post-Gazette. “As he goes through the process of rehab and we think we have a better handle on timeframe we’ll let you know.”
Lovejoy, 32, has been a fixture in the Pittsburgh lineup this year. Prior to getting hurt, he was one of just two defenseman to have appeared in all 57 games this season — Brian Dumoulin was the other — and he’d chipped in offensively, scoring three goals and nine points while averaging just under 19 minutes per night.
With Lovejoy out of the lineup, Pittsburgh went with a six-man defensive unit of Dumolin, Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, Ian Cole, Derrick Pouliot and Kris Letang in Tuesday’s win over the Sabres. Steve Oleksy has been called up from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but it’ll be worth monitoring Pens GM Jim Rutherford as we get closer to the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Lovejoy’s absence could force Rutherford to add a piece on defense.