Penguins notebook: Ehrhoff returns from head injury
WASHINGTON — Christian Ehrhoff said he never has experienced anything like this, and the implication is the Penguins defenseman hopes he never does again.
Ehrhoff returned Wednesday at Washington, ending a 12-game absence that was the result of his head hitting the Verizon Center ice twice after bouncing off Alex Ovechkin on Jan. 28.
“Throughout this process, it’s a frustrating injury,” Ehrhoff said. “You don’t know what the timetable is. You just go day by day. It’s not set in stone when you can come back. As a player, it’s a little more frustrating of an injury.”
Ehrhoff’s average ice time of 22:15 ranks third on the team. He averages 1:57 on the power play, which trails only Kris Letang among Penguins defensemen.
Without Ehrhoff, the Penguins almost exclusively played Robert Bortuzzo and Derrick Pouliot on their second pairing. Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch Wednesday, while Pouliot played alongside Ehrhoff.
Ehrhoff has three goals — all game-winners — and 10 assists in 43 games. One of Ehrhoff’s greatest attributes is his booming shot. He’s willing to use it, too, averaging 2.2 shots per game.
Ehrhoff said it was merely a coincidence he made his return in the building where he got hurt.
“It just turns out to be that way,” Ehrhoff said. “I obviously wanted to be back as soon as I was able.”
• The Penguins cannot win the season series against the Capitals, who won the previous three meetings. Coach Mike Johnston intimated that momentum could carry over into the postseason. “I don’t think you ever want to enter a playoff series with the other team having an advantage over you,” he said. Unless the Penguins beat the New York Islanders on April 10, they face the prospect of losing season series to all three potential playoff opponents.