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Penguins Roundup: 11/11/13

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Paul Martin and Tanner Glass did not participate in Monday afternoon’s practice at Southpointe. Martin, who missed the team’s game in St. Louis on Saturday, has a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Head coach Dan Bylsma said “it’s a possibility” that Martin could miss the Penguins’ Wednesday night contest against the Philadelphia Flyers at CONSOL Energy Center.

Glass was listed as having a maintenance day.

Bylsma added that defenseman Olli Maatta would not be at practice on Tuesday because he needs to handle an immigration issue. Bylsma said he doesn’t anticipate the issue to prevent Maatta from suiting up Wednesday.

The Penguins used the following lineup in drills…



With Martin out of the lineup, the Penguins have been forced to shuffle their defensive pairs. One interesting duo at Monday’s practice was Kris Letang skating with Maatta.

“Olli was paired with Kris and we wanted to see that pair together,” Bylsma said. “You may see that pair together for our game on Wednesday.”

This isn’t the first time these two have worked together. Letang and Maatta played two preseason games together, as well as getting a lot of action during training camp.

“I had a chance to play with him in training camp and during the season when I came back,” Letang said. “We all play the same. You need to get used to certain habits that different players have.”

Letang is an aggressive player that loves to join the rush. But Maatta said he won’t change the way he plays despite being paired with such a dynamic talent.

“You don’t want to change your own game too much,” he said. “He makes it easier for me. He’s that good of a player. He gives me more time with his ability to pass the puck and fake the pass sometimes. He’s a good player to play with.”

Letang will try to make it an easy transition for his rookie partner.

“You don’t want to put him in a bad spot or a tough situation,” Letang said. “At the same time, he’s in the lineup because he’s able to play the game. I don’t treat anyone differently. I’m just going to try and make him a better player and put him in a good spot.”

In Saturday’s game in St. Louis both forwards James Neal and Beau Bennett returned to the lineup after lengthy injuries.

Neal, who hadn’t played since the season opener on Oct. 3, returned to game action just a few days after returning to practice.

“I was going day-by-day and seeing how I felt. After the morning skate and a few good practices I felt I was ready to play,” Neal said. “I would have liked to win, but it felt good to get back in the lineup with the guys."

Neal played 17:02 minutes, saw action on the power play, recorded two shots and set up the Penguins’ only goal with a play from behind the net.

“I played that full game, more than I expected, but felt good,” Neal said.

Bennett skated 11:03 minutes and posted one shot and two hits.

“I felt like my legs and conditioning were a lot better than a couple weeks ago,” Bennett said. “It will only get better going forward.”

More importantly, neither had any issues with their respective injuries following the game.

“I wasn’t too sore or anything, just the normal bumps and bruises of game play,” Bennett said. “I was pretty happy with how I felt (Sunday).”

Michelle Crechiolo and Dave Uhrmacher contributed to this report.

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