Forward Pascal Dupuis took part in the team’s full morning skate practice and could be in the lineup tonight when the Penguins host the NY Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center, just two days after leaving a game against the Dallas Stars on a stretcher.
“I’m feeling much better than I did coming out of the (Stars) game,” Dupuis said following the skate. “It’s still a decision we have to make this afternoon with the coach and the trainers to see if I’ll be ready to go tonight.”
"It's a game-time decision tonight," head coach Mike Johnston said.
On the play, Dupuis was positioned in front of the net when Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski crosschecked him in the back. Dupuis fell to the ice just as teammate Kris Letang was lining up for a shot on goal.
“I got pushed from behind, went down and I knew the puck was coming so I tried to cover myself,” Dupuis said. “I left the back of my neck area open. The puck dipped and hit me in the neck.”
“The puck was rolling on me. When I hit it, it knuckled,” Letang said Friday. “When (Dupuis) went down I thought I hit his helmet. There’s no way I could realize that with a bouncing (puck) and him falling down. I just saw the damage.”
Dupuis, who skated on his own Friday before team practice, tried to get to his feet, but only managed to stand on one knee. He then began flailing his arms. Dupuis’ gloves fell off and he lay down on the ice.
“I tried to get up and I couldn’t feel my arms and my extremities. I started shaking my gloves and wanted to see if they were really shaking or not,” Dupuis said. “They were kind of moving. I dropped my gloves and (Evgeni Malkin) came around yelling ‘Just lay there! Just stay there!’ I said, ‘OK, Geno.’ I just stayed there.”
Penguins team doctors and athletic trainers came out to attend to Dupuis. As he lay on the ice the feeling began to come back in his arms, but the team took every precaution, removing him from the ice on a stretcher and taking him to the hospital for testing.
“The feeling came back, but I argued with the doctors,” Dupuis said. “It took a little while. Feeling started slowly to come back. It was a weird feeling. It’s obviously never happened to me. I never got numb like this. It’s kind of scary actually.”
After the hospital ran through some tests, Dupuis returned to the arena to see his teammates, particularly Letang.
“I went (to the hospital) with my equipment. My suit and everything was back here,” Dupuis said. “I did all the testing at the hospital and made my way back here to see the guys and mainly to talk to Kris.”