UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who is nursing a lower-body injury and has not played since April 23, participated without equipment in solo skating and puck-handling drills with Pittsburgh strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for at least 30 minutes prior to Pittsburgh's Sunday matinee against the New York Islanders.
Orpik didn't appear to show any major strain or discomfort in the drill but his status remains uncertain for Game 3 of Pittsburgh's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Islanders. While Orpik skated, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma refused to divulge any information about his lineup, only saying that the game's 12 pm E.T. start (NBC) would not affect his players or his decisions.
"Obviously no morning skate today. But we have and do play a fair amount of odd-timed games," Bylsma said. "This is as early as you get, but we're somewhat accustomed to playing games at a different time."
Pittsburgh saw the return of captain Sidney Crosby on Friday in a 4-3 loss Friday in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Consol Energy Center. And while Crosby scored twice in his first game action since March 30, the team was still without Orpik and James Neal, who played a bit more than eight minutes in Game 1 against the Islanders before leaving with a suspected ankle injury.
Byslma would not comment on the status of either player.
More will be known about the status of these players - as well as forward Joe Vitale, who has been out since April 20 with a lower-body injury - closer to game time.
Just to have some fun with the press, Neal pretended to use a hockey stick as a crutch and walked with a mock limp as he passed by members of the media prior to Bylsma's press conference.