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Neal, Malkin recovering but not ready to play

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 2:36 PM / News

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Neal, Malkin recovering but not ready to play
Forwards James Neal and Evgeni Malkin joined the Pittsburgh Penguins for practice Sunday.

Evgeni Malkin skated with his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Sunday, but coach Dan Bylsma said he will not be part of the lineup Monday when the Penguins play at the Ottawa Senators due to an upper-body injury.

"Evgeni Malkin will not go on the trip with us [to Ottawa], so he will not be playing [Monday]," Bylsma said. "Still day to day."

Bylsma said Malkin skated early Sunday with a few of the team's other injured players and then stayed on the ice for the full team practice. According to the team's Twitter account, during practice he centered a line with Dustin Jeffrey and Steve MacIntyre, both of whom were healthy scratches for the Penguins' game Saturday at the Boston Bruins.

Malkin will miss his fourth straight game Monday.

The Penguins also had forward James Neal on the ice for a portion of practice Sunday. Neal has missed the past five games with a concussion sustained during a game April 5 against the New York Rangers. The team's Twitter account reported Neal skated as an extra defenseman before leaving the ice.

Bylsma said Neal, who also skated as part of the pre-practice morning group, is symptom-free but not yet ready to play.

"[Practicing] would be an indication of him moving along in his protocol and where he's at with his injury," Bylsma said.

Besides Neal and Malkin, also skating in the morning were defenseman Paul Martin, out since March 28 with a hand injury, and Sidney Crosby, who is recovering from a broken jaw sustained during a game March 30.

"They're all progressing on the ice and doing pretty well," Bylsma said of his recovering players. "I think all of them are."

It wasn't all good news for the Penguins, though, as defenseman Kris Letang was off the ice due to illness. Bylsma said Letang, second among NHL defensemen with 32 points despite missing 12 games with various injuries, is questionable for the game Monday at the Senators.

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres