A day after missing Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators with a lower-body injury - and arriving at the rink to watch on crutches wearing a walking boot - Nick Bonino put on his skates and took part in Pens practice on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
"It felt OK," Bonino said afterward. "It's not fun. It's day-to-day. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I just wanted to get out there and try to move it a little bit."
The Pens center suffered the injury late in the first period of Pittsburgh's 4-1 win in Game 2 on Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena, when he sacrificed his body to make a huge block on a shot from Preds defenseman P.K. Subban during a 5-on-3 power play for Nashville.
Bonino had to be helped off the ice, but returned for the start of the second and played the rest of the game.
"We put a little work into it in the back," he said. "It wasn't feeling great right away, but we were able to make it feel better. Just tried to finish and help the team."
However, it was ultimately determined that Bonino - who said he was dealing with swelling - would not be able to go for Game 3.
"At the end of the day, if it's not great, then you don't do it," Bonino said. "If it's in a position to be played on and help the team, then we will. We all know the stakes. I'm not going to make bad decisions at this time of the year."
Fortunately, Bonino felt good enough to get out there today, and they'll go from there.
"If I or the coaches or trainers don't think I could help the team out I wouldn't be out there," he said. "You have to be honest at this time of the year. If you go in you're assuming you're playing the whole game. That's the mindset we've always got here."
Bonino pointed out the player who replaced him - Carl Hagelin - is a veteran who's more than capable of stepping in.
"It wasn't a very hard call," Bonino said. "With me coming out we have a guy with 100 or more playoff games coming in. I thought he played a really good game. Like I said, we'll see what happens."
Hagelin had good chemistry on a line with Matt Cullen and Patric Hornqvist, as the three of them had a lot of offensive-zone time.
"I felt good," said Hagelin, who was a healthy scratch for Games 1 and 2. "Had some chances early on and our line had some good shifts. But at the end of the day, we lost the game."
* Hornqvist and Cullen were the only two players absent from practice.
* After the 5-1 loss in Game 3, Pierre McGuire asked Subban what was said in an exchange with Crosby. "He told me my breath smelled, but I don't know," Subban joked. "I used Listerine before the game. I thought my breath smelled great. So I don't know what he's talking about." He and his teammates were still talking about it today, so of course, Crosby had to be asked about it. We're putting his response here so we can have it on record and then move on: "He made that up. I didn't say that. He likes the attention and things like that, so if he wants to make stuff up, what can I do (laughs)?"
* Matt Murray is 9-0 all-time when he starts a playoff game following a Pens loss, and he is 7-0 all-time in the playoffs when he starts a game immediately following a loss of his own. Murray, who allowed five goals on 33 shots Saturday night, said he wasn't aware of those stats and added that he just plays the game. "It doesn't matter the scenario, it doesn't matter what's going on," he said. "My job doesn't change. I just play."