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At the Rink blog

Niskanen skates, return not on horizon yet

Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 1:17 PM

By Chris Adamski - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Niskanen skates, return not on horizon yet

PITTSBURGH -- Exactly two weeks into what was projected to be a 2-4 week recovery time, Matt Niskanen is closer to returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. It won't be Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, though.

Niskanen joined more than a dozen teammates for an optional morning skate at Consol Energy Center Sunday but remains on injured reserve due to an ankle injury sustained 14 days ago.

"It is feeling better, and I'm able to do more and more things on the ice every day," Niskanen said. "I'd like to think I'm close -- but we'll just have to wait and see how I progress. I've got a few more steps to take."

Coach Dan Bylsma said Niskanen "is progressing, and we'll see how he continues to go." Niskanen has been skating on his own with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar over the past week.

"It feels good to be out with the team again," said Niskanen, who had a goal and two assists in five games this season. "Mike Kadar does a good job -- but that gets old pretty quick."

Niskanen, who signed a two-year contract extension with Pittsburgh this past summer, opened the season with Kris Letang as his partner on the Penguins' top pairing. Letang will miss his third game due to a lower-body injury Sunday.

Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh