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Martin Returns to Practice

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins defenseman Paul Martin was back at practice with his teammates Tuesday afternoon at Southpointe. Martin, who is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury, hasn’t played since the team’s Feb. 28 game in Carolina.

Martin, who has been working the past few days with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar prior to team practices, feels the injury is healing, but isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return to the lineup. The Penguins’ next game is Thursday in Philadelphia.

Defenseman Paul Martin

“We’ll see how (Wednesday) goes in the skate,” Martin said. “It’s been getting better everyday. I’ve been working off the ice, too.”

Martin said the injury feels fine during practices, but is trying to test it for game-situations.

“Just practicing it feels OK, but the battle stuff and engaging is what will get it,” Martin said. “I’m sure we’ll do more of that to test it. Other than that there has been no limitations.

“We did some (battle) stuff with (Kadar) and on the ice at practice, coming out of the corners. I had no issues. I imagine a couple more days will be beneficial for that, too.”

Martin suffered the injury sometime last week. He skipped the team’s Feb. 27 practice to let it heal, but played the following evening in Carolina. He didn’t skate at all in the third period against the Hurricanes.

“I rushed it last time,” he said. “It felt pretty good getting a day of rest after aggravating it. I thought it would be good to go. It just wasn’t ready. Once the game started it continued to get worse. It’s been getting better.”

Now Martin is being smarter with the injury. But as any hockey player will tell you, patience is a difficult thing.

“That’s the hard part as a player, you want to be in there and want to play, but you have to be smart about it in the short season, playing every other day,” he said. “You want to be in there, but you have to make sure you’re ready down the stretch. It’s a tough call, but you figure it out as you go.

“You’d rather be playing as close to 100 percent as possible, rather than going through games and not feeling great or confident with your game.”

Notes: Winger Zach Boychuk was claimed off waivers by the Nashville Predators. … The Penguins recalled winger Beau Bennett from WBS. … The Penguins signed forward Tom Kostopoulos to a one-year deal. If he clears waivers, he will be assigned to WBS Wednesday.

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