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Penguins Report: Malkin and Letang Skate

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Here are some quick injury notes:

  • Evgeni Malkin practiced and said he's "ready" to play against Dallas (12:28 PM entry).
  • Zbynek Michalek practiced and said he's "ready to go" against Dallas (1:08 PM entry).
  • Kris Letang practice and said how he feels in the morning will determine if he plays (1:02 PM entry).
  • Alex Goligoski did not practice, but coach Bylsma was "optimistic" he'll play (12:45 PM entry).


1:13 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma....

On possibly calling up a player from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:
I haven’t had to make that decision yet. We have the possibility of being able to do that. We’re waiting to see how these guys are doing, and it should be OK. But at the same time, we are traveling out West, so we have to make that decision whether to bring a guy or not. They wouldn’t be coming with us today, but knowing the situation, they could be joining us in Dallas.

On who will start in net Wednesday:
I haven’t talked to the goalies yet, but they’re going to be the first to know.

On Zbynek Michalek and the defensive pairings:
I wish I could tell you for certain, given the fact that we have two guys on the mend and hopefully playing tomorrow and we don’t know which one, if either, is going to be back in there. But we like our (Paul Martin and Kris Letang) pair, and (Brooks Orpik and Michelek) were together, and we could possibly see (Goligoski and Michalek) together. Orpik was working well with Engelland last game. And Engelland has been playing really well, being able to play against some of the more skilled players in the league. So we’ll see who we get, but that would give you an early indication of what it would look like.

On Deryk Engelland:
I think the game that’s clearest in my mind—it’s been a while now, but he’s done it since then as well—was when we were in New Jersey and he was knocking Kovalchuk and Parise around in the corner. Then Kovalchuk was in the offensive zone and was worried about hitting Engelland and not worried about scoring a goal. That was evidence that this guy can go out and play, and play physical and be a presence against good skill players. He’s done that in virtually every game he’s played. He’s knocking down Cole last game in the corner twice on a shift, and when you put out a guy who can be that presence and play good defense against good players, he’s going to get an opportunity to do that, because that affects those skill players and makes them uncomfortable.

Goal: Tony Jovenitti

1:08 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Sidney Crosby

On Jordan Staal’s injury:
It’s pretty unfortunate. I think if anything, we just feel bad. He’s been through a lot and worked hard to be this close. So it’s too bad. But we’re going to have to keep playing well. We played well last game, so we just have to keep building and make sure that when he gets back we’re playing good hockey.

On why the team played well on Saturday:
I think our desperation level was a lot higher, and we did a lot of little things. We were strong on one-on-one battles and we executed well. Every little detail you can look at we were strong in. When you pay attention to those things you get good results.

On everyone playing well:
Not everyone is going to have their best game on the same night. It happens. But collectively if you focus on those details—you’re going to make mistakes and it’s going to happen—but if you’re doing the right thing most of the time then you’re giving yourself a good chance to win. It isn’t easy or else teams would be good every night. It’s always a challenge.

On how tough it is mentally to think a player is coming back from injury only to get hurt again:
It’s tough for him. Yeah, it’s tough for us, but I think our first thought is for him and what he’s gone through. You can’t ever change those things, so you have to make sure you do the best with the guys you have. I think you can always just be there for the guy and be supportive.

Zbynek Michalek

On playing in Phoenix this weekend:
It should be a fun game. I’m happy to be a part of it and hopefully I’ll enjoy it.

On Jordan Staal’s injury:
I feel really bad for him. I know he worked really hard to get back. But it’s part of the game, and I’m sure he’s going to recover fast. But everybody is here for him if he needs anything, and I’m sure he’ll be back soon.

On his health:
I feel good and I’m ready to go. My skating has been good. I’m really excited for tomorrow. I still feel it a little bit, and I’m going to feel it for a few weeks here, but I feel confident. It’s strong enough now and I’ve been practicing for a week and I didn’t have any problems. So I’m really confident.

Assist: Tony Jovenitti

1:02 PM:
Defenseman Kris Letang not only skated before practice and participated in the entire practice, he was the last person off the ice. Letang is usually the last person off the ice for the Pens, so that should be no surprise. But with him recovering from an upper-body injury, it was good to see Letang in his normal routine of firing pucks at the net long after his teammates vacated the ice.

"It's progress, I feel better," Letang said. "We didn't make a decision yet. We'll see tomorrow morning."

Letang did note that there was some discomfort with handling his stick on shots and passes.

"It's not that I can't hold my stick or anything like that," Letang said. "I can shoot. It's not the hardest shot I can take. ... It needs to heal. There is a pain when I get a pass, it vibrates in my fingers and my hands.

"It won't get worse. It's just a question of time to feel comfortable."


12:45 PM:
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said that he was "optimistic" that injured forward Evgeni Malkin and defensemen Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski will return to the lineup Wednesday night in Dallas.

"(Goligoski) feels like he's better (Tuesday) and will be able to go tomorrow," Bylsma said. "Same thing with Kris and Geno. They finished the skate and did the whole practice. We'll wait to see in the morning."

Bylsma said there is a chance that the team will recall a player from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

12:28 PM:
Evgeni Malkin told reporters "I'm ready" when asked if he would be in the lineup at Dallas on Wednesday night. Malkin, suffered an injury in the final period against Philadelphia Oct. 29.

"I skated before practice to see how my knee feels," Malkin said. "It's not sore. It feels pretty strong. It's alright.

"I'm ready now for the next game."


11:31 AM:
Here are some practices pictures. Today's theme: shoot the puck.


11:20 AM:
Malkin and Letang are on the ice and are participating in practice. The duo did some work on their own prior to practice (see 10:55 AM entry). The following combos were:




10:55 AM:
The Penguins had some bad injury news Monday with the announcement that center Jordan Staal suffered a fractured hand at practice and couple possibly miss six weeks.

But Tuesday started with some good news as forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang are currently both on the ice at Southpointe. The team's practice starts at 11 a.m. We'll wait to see if Malkin and Letang, both of whom are day-to-day with injuries, join their teammates for practice.

It's at least a positive sign on the injury front.

Malkin (green) and Letang (white)

Malkin talks to head athletic trainer Chris Stewart (left), and gives a fan a practice puck (right)

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