PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Mother Nature delayed the arrival of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two latest acquisitions. After trading for James Neal and Matt Niskanen on Monday, snow delayed their arrival in town until Tuesday afternoon.
Neal and Niskanen’s flight from Dallas was diverted to New Jersey because of the snowstorm that hit Pittsburgh Monday night.
After arriving late Tuesday, Neal and Niskanen took their physicals and met with the coaching staff. Both will practice Wednesday morning before making their debuts later in the day against San Jose.
The two will join a Penguins team that’s down 10 regulars, including Sidney Crosby, who has missed 20 games and is out indefinitely with a concussion.
With 21 goals, Neal will immediately become the Penguins second-leading scorer, behind Crosby, who has 32.
Bylsma said Neal will play on the left side on the team’s top line with center Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
The Penguins are 2-5-1 in their past eight and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are currently three points ahead of the Washington Capitals.
“I think he’s going to make us a better team going into tomorrow night’s game and give us a chance to get what we need to get wins,” Bylsma said, referring to Neal. “With Jordan, I can see them being a real formidable pair.”
The Penguins and Sharks will drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. at the CONSOL Energy Center Wednesday night.