The Pittsburgh Penguins lost blue liner Olli Maatta during their 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday evening, but they could lose him for even longer.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed on Sunday that Maatta is being evaluated on Sunday, and the team will know more about his timetable for recovery – and the extent of his injury – once those evaluations have been finished.
The 21-year-old Finnish defenseman left the game on Saturday after receiving a high hit to the head by Capitals blue liner Brooks Orpik, who received a two minute minor for the hit. Maatta was unable to return to the game – and although the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is set to have a hearing with Orpik for the incident (which could lead to a suspension), the Penguins are now down one of their most promising young players.
Drafted 22nd overall by the Penguins at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Maatta finished his 2015-16 season with six goals and 19 points through 67 games played. Although he’s failed to record a point in his seven postseason appearances thus far, the hope was that he would be an asset on the blue line as the Penguins looked for their first Stanley Cup since 2009; now, the Metropolitan Division club could be without him for an extended period of time.
The Penguins and the Capitals will next play tomorrow at 8:00 PM EST, when the two clubs head to Pennsylvania to play out games three and four.