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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

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