Pens defenseman Trevor Daley was evaluated by the team’s doctors on Thursday and could play Friday night in Carolina against the Hurricanes.
“He’ll be a game-time decision in the morning,” head coach Mike Sullivan said of Daley, who missed the final two periods of Wednesday’s game with an injury.
The good news for the Pens is that “anything significant has been ruled out,” according to Sullivan.
“He’s feeling a little bit better today,” Sullivan said. “We’re a little banged up right now. The more people we can keep healthy and keep in our lineup the better.”
One player that isn’t healthy, but is working his way toward that is blueliner David Warsofsky. He has missed the past 9 games with a concussion, but has practiced with the team this week.
“He’s getting close,” Sullivan said. “I think he’s making progress. He’s got a few practices with the team. He skated again today. He’s making progress.”
If Daley isn’t cleared to play against Carolina, the Pens will likely turn to Ian Cole, who has been a healthy scratch for the past 7 contests.
“We feel as though we’ve got 7 or 8 defensemen we think can help us win. We utilize each and every one of those guys and Ian is one of those guys,” Sullivan said. “He’s played some good hockey for us. He’s been a good soldier as far as preparing himself to be ready when the time comes.”
Cole has tried to remain patient while waiting for his opportunity to get back on the ice.
“It’s not easy. Obviously, you want to be playing,” Cole said. “You work hard in practice and try to stay as sharp as you can. That turns into your game so you try to stay sharp as best that you can.”
While Cole sat out, the coaching staff made it clear what he needed to work on so that when he did play again he would help the team. But those talks have stayed behind closed door.
“Ian and I have had a few conversations that I’d like to keep between us,” Sullivan said. “We’ve tried to define clear expectations in what we expect or how we think each one of our players can help us win by playing to their strengths.”
Now it’s up to Cole to put those words into practice.
“There were some conversations that were had. I need to put that into play in a game situation,” Cole said.
The weekend trip to Carolina and Florida will be the Pens’ yearly “Dads’ Trip.” Every player, coach and staff members’ dads were invited to join the team for the road trip.
“My dad is extremely excited,” Cole said. “Anytime he can get away from the wife and come hangout with the boys for five days is nice. I think he’s looking forward to the opportunity.”
But having their dads on the trip does include some challenges.
“Sleep,” Ben Lovejoy said. “It’s amazing how guys come in and complain about their dad’s snoring. It’s been a major issue in my life, and I think everybody brought some earplugs or some noise machines to keep their dads from snoring.”