Share This Page

Whitney nearing return to lineup

Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney's goal of playing in a game before Christmas is looking more realistic.

Whitney has been out all season after undergoing surgery in August to correct a left-foot deformity. He has been practicing with the team since Nov. 21.

Whitney isn't positive, but a Dec. 23 game against the Tampa Bay Lightning is a possible return date.

"It's getting there," Whitney said. "I'm hoping pretty soon, probably not Atlanta, but I'm hoping soon after. I'd like to be in before Christmas. That was the goal the whole time."

A star is born

Right wing Petr Sykora was named the NHL's No. 2 star for his performance last week.

He recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games. The highlight of the week came when Sykora recorded his first career hat trick in a 9-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Flower power

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who is expected to make his return to the net Thursday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, said he is feeling good.

"It's up to the coaches, and we'll see what they decide to do," Fleury said.

"I just have to get a couple practices in."

Fleury has missed 13 consecutive games since Nov. 15, when he sustained a lower-body injury in a victory over Buffalo at Mellon Arena. He was in uniform Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, but backup Dany Sabourin was in goal.

Fleury could be the boost the Penguins need after losing four of the past five games.

"It's big," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "We don't know if he's playing for sure, but it would be nice to get him back. Obviously, he's our starting goalie."

The hating game

Crosby said the loss to rival Philadelphia came down to who wanted it more -- and it wasn't the Penguins.

"We didn't hate Philly enough on Saturday," Crosby said. "We didn't match their intensity. We don't hate them enough right now.

"It's not a new thing for a lot of guys. For some guys it is, but those are intense games. You have to have that will to go out there and compete every shift. Because if you don't match that, especially on the road, you're gonna be in trouble."

Opting to skate

Ten players participated in the optional skate Monday, including forwards Eric Godard, Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, Tim Wallace, defensemen Kris Letang, Whitney and Alex Goligoski and goalies Fleury and Sabourin.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.