The Penguins practiced for about an hour on Wednesday morning at Southpointe. Forward James Neal (upper-body) and the players on injured reserve (defenseman Kris Letang, lower-body; forward Matt D’Agostini, lower-body; and goalie Tomas Vokoun, blood clot) were all missing from the team skate. Coach Dan Bylsma did have some updates following practice…
- Neal skated briefly today, D'Agostini skated for a longer duration and Letang skated for “approximately 50 minutes today at a pretty good clip, which is a progression for him from (Tuesday),” Bylsma said.
- Letang will travel with the team on their road trip to Florida, but Bylsma said that he needs to progress back to practice before they think about putting him in a game at this point in time. “He skated for a good duration today. But I don't see him just stepping back into a game situation without team practice,” Bylsma said.
- Bylsma added that the team is still waiting to see whether D’Agostini will travel with the team this weekend, and Neal will not go. “He's week-to-week still at this point. He's gotten a little bit better, but not to the point where we're coming off week-to-week,” Bylsma said of Neal.
- Backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff will start one of Pittsburgh's games this weekend, their first set of back-to-backs this season. They play the Florida Panthers at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. on Saturday. “This would be a perfect spot for Jeff to play one of the games. I haven't talked to the goaltenders yet about the rotation, so that will happen in one of these two games, but not ready to tell you which one,” Bylsma said.
The Pens did not do line rushes in practice today, but did wear color-coded jerseys. Here’s how they divided up…
Black – Kunitz, Crosby, Dupuis
Powder Blue – Jokinen, Malkin, Bennett
White – Jeffrey, Sutter, Kobasew
Yellow – Glass, Vitale, Adams
The Pens will practice Thursday at Southpointe at 11 a.m. and will fly to Florida after.