Another day, another Penguin returning to practice with his teammates.
After Taylor Pyatt (lower body) started skating with the team on Friday, Joe Vitale (upper body) did the same on Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center. Vitale had missed Pittsburgh’s last 12 games going into the break after being injured on Jan. 10 in Edmonton.
While Vitale doesn’t have a timetable for his return to game action, returning to team practice is always a positive step in a player’s recovery.
“Right now I’m still day to day and don’t have any answers as far as whether Thursday (vs. Montreal) is a possibility or not,” Vitale said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time. Each day I’m stickhandling and shooting a little bit more and hopefully I’ll be battling soon, so that’s all I can say right now.”
Having been out so long going into the league-wide break, Vitale’s time away from Pittsburgh wasn’t as restful as he’d originally anticipated as he continued to do what he needed to do to further his recovery.
“I had a lot of rest heading into the break, so I definitely hit it a lot harder than I was anticipating at the beginning of the year,” he said. “My initial thing was take the whole break off, get away, but I kind of did that for a few weeks leading into the break. So I worked out a little bit more, stayed in more condition, ate properly and those kinds of deals. But other than that, there wasn’t too much going on.”
While he was busier than he thought, Vitale was able to take time to visit his family in St. Louis, his wife Brianna’s family in Atlanta and enjoy a bit of sunshine and warm weather down in Florida.
“I went to St. Louis. My niece got baptized and I was the godfather for that,” he said. “Went to go visit my wife’s family in Atlanta, then my wife and I got away for a few days down at the beach in Florida. So all around, we covered some miles, but it was good. It was pretty relaxing.”
Note: Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Chuck Kobasew, James Neal, Brandon Sutter, Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland, Matt Niskanen, Rob Scuderi, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jeff Zatkoff, and Tomas Vokoun all skated on Sunday as well. The team practiced for about an hour and a half.