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Penguins Report: Scuderi Will Be Game-Time Decision

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Defenseman Rob Scuderi practiced at Pittsburgh's morning skate on Thursday afternoon and will be a game-time decision for the Penguins showdown with the Philadelphia Flyers at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m.

"He looked good this morning but we don't want to take any chances," head coach Michel Therrien said. "We'll make a decision after warm up, but I thought he looked pretty good."

Scuderi suffered an undisclosed injury while blocking a shot in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. He skated later in the period but did not return following the first intermission.

"It's kind of an ongoing decision right now," Scuderi said of his playing status. "It's still a little sore. It felt OK for the skate but I'll talk to the trainers and see how they feel. The trainers feel it's nothing serious. But if you're not able to perform at this level, we have another guy that could easily come in and do a good job."

That other guy could be forward Paul Bissonnette, who started his hockey career on the blue line. Bissonnette took some practice reps alongside Darryl Sydor. His versatility was one of the reasons he made the Penguins roster.

"I think that was all part of keeping me here," Bissonnette said. "(Wednesday) and (Thursday) I played on D just to give (Scuderi) a rest. I like it because it keeps me diverse. Who knows, maybe one day I'll go back to D. It's just nice to keep up."

With Bissonnette on the roster as a possible eighth defenseman, there is no rush for Scuderi to get back if he's isn't ready.

"I want to play," Scuderi said. "But if I'm not 100 percent and not able to play at my level, we have seven capable guys here. Why put the team at risk."

Though the injury may keep him out of Thursday's game, Scuderi was optimistic that he would return for Saturday's game against the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena.

"(I'm) very sure," Scuderi said of playing Saturday. "I'm not a medical guy so I can't put a percentage number on it but I would be very surprised if I miss more than just tonight, even if tonight."

> Mike Zigomanis won a big faceoff against Detroit in the Red Wings zone with less than 30 seconds left in the game and Pittsburgh trailling, 6-5. He won the draw clean and the Penguins tied the game on the ensuing play, and eventually won in overtime.

"He's one of the best in the league at winning faceoffs," Therrien said. "He's really sharp this year. Players need confidence to play. Coaches need trust in players. He gained that trust. We know on big faceoffs, we're not afraid to send him, especially on the right side. This is what we did to tie the game in the last minute."

The Penguins were prepared for Detroit's tendencies in the faceoff circle.

"Detroit is a good faceoff team," Therrien said. "They were cheating a lot. Our centerman was aware of that because we played those guys in the Final. We responded well."

Zigomanis' contribution to the team goes beyond his league-leading 64.2 faceoff winning percentage.

"He's doing a good job killing penalties," Therrien said. "We tried giving him some time on the power play too as well. He earned our trust with the way that he's playing. A lot of credit has to go to our pro scout regarding this guy. They make the call and it turned out really, really well for us."

> He said it: Therrien when asked if he would take a timeout in the final minute of regulation with a lead, as Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock did on Tuesday night.

"I have my own ideas and I don't like to share it. I won't second guess any coach's decision because I know how hard it is. One thing for sure, he's made a lot of good decisions. He won the Stanley Cup."


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