John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Martin skips second straight practice for Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins blue line continues to get more and more banged up, and this time it’s Paul Martin who is taking maintenance days. In fact, he’s missed two consecutive practices for the Penguins, who are already missing Brooks Orpik and played a majority of  the first month of the season without Kris Letang.

The official site of the Penguins mentioned Martin’s absence this morning:

Defenseman Paul Martin missed a second straight practice on Friday for another maintenance day, but Bylsma said Martin is probable to play Saturday night in St. Louis.

Even if Martin is ready to go, he’s likely to have a bit of rink rust against a Blues team that is among the deepest in the league at forward. With Orpik already on the shelf and several young defensemen holding down the line for Pittsburgh, Martin’s importance is  magnified a good deal.

The 32-year-old defender is averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time per game, and that’s a very tough number for even a seasoned group to deal with. He’s on pace for his usual 30-plus points as well, and is an under-appreciated segment for a Penguins blue line that is among the best in the business when its healthy.

That’s been an issue for Pittsburgh to this point, as Bylsma has had his preferred top-six at his disposal for all of four period this year. It was at the juncture that Orpik broke his ankle.

While Martin’s injury isn’t nearly that brutal, he’s an important guy for the Pens at this juncture and the team needs him at 100% moving forward. We’ll see how he looks and feels on Saturday.

Tags: NHL Pittsburgh Penguins

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