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Mike Sullivan Talks Importance of Teddy Blueger for Penguins

Teddy Blueger plays an unpopular but vital role in the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup.
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PITTSBURGH - He’s only played in six games this season, but Teddy Blueger has already been a difference maker for the depth of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Blueger missed the first 14 games of the Penguins season after suffering a strange upper-body injury in the middle of training camp.

The Latvian forward struggled to get back on the ice, but once he did, he’s been a key piece in more ways than just collecting points.

In his six games, Blueger has yet to score a goal but tallied four assists, three of them coming in the Penguins’ most recent game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Blueger is most known for excelling in his own end and making sure opposing offenses don’t get any good looks on net.

“He’s a real good penalty killer,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “He has great awareness away from the puck.”

When Blueger was on the shelf to start the season, the Penguins penalty kill was floundering.

The group struggled to find consistency and were using new faces that they hoped would add a new dynamic.

Guys like Kasperi Kapanen and Marcus Pettersson were moved to take time of the kill, while new faces like Josh Archibald and Ryan Poehling were getting acclimated with the system.

Things just didn’t click right away as the Penguins penalty kill was near the worst in the league early on.

As Blueger was nearing his return, the PK started to gain some ground, but they just needed that last push.

Blueger was that last push; with his presence, the PK has improved to 80.60%, good for 11th in the NHL.

“I don’t think it’s by coincidence that our penalty kill has been as strong as it is since he’s come back,” Sullivan said. “He’s a big part of it. He just adds so much to our team.”

The Penguins would be a much different team without Blueger; he can win important faceoffs, shut down defensively, and grow as a playmaker.

Blueger can do it all and despite his spot in the lineup, he it one of the most important players in the Penguins lineup.

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