More good news for the Penguins as defenseman Alex Goligoski and Jay McKee returned to the ice on Thursday at Mellon Arena. See 12:33 PM entry for details...___________________________________________________________________________
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that forward Tyler Kennedy
and defenseman Kris Letang
, both of whom were recently cleared for contact, will each miss the game against the Islanders. He did say that both players could return sooner, rather than later.
"I think their progress has been very promising the past few days," Bylsma said. "They haven’t had a lot of practice time with the team. I think in both cases they need to have a few good, physical practices with one-on-one (battles) and just the ordinary physical contact that only comes through practice.
"They are doing very well and (their return) is in the near future. We’ll see as we go."
As was the case earlier this month prior to the returns of Evgeni Malkin
, Maxime Talbot, Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik
, neither player will be rushed back into the lineup.
"We always want to make sure we progress and do what’s right for the player and their situation," Bylsma said. "They need to be tested. They have been able to skate and get in shape that way but physically they need to get back into the grind in front of the net and in corner situations to make sure they are ready to get back into the lineup."
was absent from practice on Thursday but head coach Dan Bylsma said after that he expects the center to play against the New York Islanders on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
"It was a maintenance day and I expect him to play tomorrow," Bylsma said.
Two more injured Penguins took the next step to rejoining the lineup as high-scoring defenseman Alex Goligoski took part in his first practice since missing the previous five games with a lower-body injury. His partner most of the season, Jay McKee, also hit the ice Thursday, skating on his own prior to practice. McKee is currently sidelined with an infected finger.
Goligoski and McKee's return to the ice marks back-to-back days of positive news on the injury front as fellow blueliner Kris Letang
was cleared for contact on Wednesday.