After GM’s urging, Pens to play rookie Sprong tonight
In the wake of the latest Pittsburgh drama -- GM Jim Rutherford openly questioning head coach Mike Johnston’s use of rookie Daniel Sprong -- it appears there’s some type of resolution on the horizon, as Sprong will play for the first time in eight games tonight in Colorado.
Coach Mike Johnston said he hadn’t yet decided what line Sprong will play on. The Penguins juggled lines in practice Tuesday at Big Bear Ice Arena, a recreational rink on the outskirts of the city.
Sprong skated on a line with center Matt Cullen and winger Sergei Plotnikov.
Sprong, 18, has two goals in 14 games this year, while averaging 9:16 TOI per night. He’s been brought along very slowly by the Penguins, with some suggesting that’s been to his disadvantage -- a prolific scorer in junior, Sprong seems to be the type that would thrive playing alongside more offensively-gifted players.
As for the Johnston-Rutherford rift, it’s hard to say it had any impact on Sprong playing tonight.
With yesterday’s news that Pascal Dupuis won’t play again due to blood clots, a spot opened up at forward and Sprong was the only extra forward on Pittsburgh’s current four-game road swing.