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Penguins Report: Gonchar, Malkin Practice

by Caitlin Kasunich / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Sergei Gonchar returned to practice. Malkin has missed six of his last seven games due to his foot injury, and Gonchar has missed three games due to illness. See 11:01 AM entry for more details.


 
Evgeni Malkin

 
Sergei Gonchar
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2:50 PM:
Russian superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar returned to the ice during Tuesday’s morning practice to skate with the team. Malkin, who is suffering from a foot injury, missed six of his last seven games. Gonchar, who had strep throat, missed his last three games.

Although Gonchar and Malkin seem to be feeling better, head coach Dan Bylsma said that he has not yet decided whether or not either one of them will play in Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“They have both gotten better but are day-to-day and won’t be decided on until tomorrow,” Bylsma said.

Executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero also discussed his happiness with Malkin and Gonchar beginning to regain their health.

“I’m looking forward to having those guys back,” he said. “While they’re out, it’s not a bad thing for the other guys to get added ice time and added responsibility. It also gives Geno and Gonchar a rest here. Hopefully, they’ll be back soon, and they’ll be two good additions for us."

Gonchar said that although he has not been watching the scoreboard constantly since he has been in bed for the past five days, he still knows that his teammates have been playing exceptionally well in recent games.

“We are battling for the division lead,” he said. “The guys are doing a great job. We have a few games left, so we have to finish strong.”
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1:56 PM:
Sounds heard throughout the locker room:

Sidney Crosby
On if he finds himself watching the scoreboard a little bit more at this time of the year:
After games, it’s pretty common to see what else is going on throughout the league. I think that if you get caught up in it before games or during games, you’re not really watching other teams. Maybe as it gets a little closer, it may be tough not to do that. At this point, we know that we have to kind of control our own situation here with winning hockey games.
On the Stanley Cup being at the Heinz History Center later this week for a few days:
I don’t plan on going down here. I don’t think that you’ll see anyone from our team go there, but it’s an opportunity that we got because of the season that we had last year. That’s great for fans and things like that. I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m superstitious, but I don’t think that I’m the only one who isn’t going down there. I don’t think that I’m too weird for not going to see it.
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11:39 AM:

 

 

  
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11:07 AM:
The Penguins have been using the same forward lines that they have been using in the last couple of games. Evgeni Malkin has been working with Eric Godard and other random players as he tests his injured foot.
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11:01 AM:
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Sergei Gonchar returned to practice. Malkin has missed six of his last seven games due to his foot injury, and Gonchar has missed three games due to illness. Head coach Dan Bylsma will provide an update following practice.

Gonchar skated for the first time on his own Monday with Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. Read here for more details.
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10:56 AM:
Kris Letang signed a four-year contract extension today, which goes into effect at the start of the next season and will run through the 2013-14 season. Read more about the contract extension here.

 
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