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Kunitz close to returning to ice for Penguins

Coach Dan Bylsma said Friday that left wing Chris Kunitz "is getting close" to returning from a lower-body injury that has cost him 13 straight games. Kunitz has not played since Nov. 12.

His return will present Bylsma with an interesting decision on which forward to scratch.

"It's a luxury I've been looking forward to having for a while," he said of having available, for the first time, all 13 of his expected regular forwards, which he would upon Kunitz's return.

» Defenseman Sergei Gonchar did not practice at Southpointe because of a "maintenance day," according to Bylsma.

"Lots of game and short amount of time for travel," Bylsma said, an indication that Gonchar will play tonight against Florida at Mellon Arena.

» Defenseman Alex Goligoski said after practice that his injured knee "felt pretty good." Goligoski played Thursday at Montreal for the first time after missing four straight games. His knee was injured Nov. 28 when his skate caught a rut in Mellon Arena's ice. Goligoski is wearing a brace on the knee, but he said that support mechanism "won't be permanent."

» Several players joined wives/girlfriends and their dogs after practice to film public service announcements for Animals Friends and the Animal Rescue League. Players participating were: goalies Brent Johnson and Marc-Andre Fleury; forwards Eric Godard, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Rupp; and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Mark Eaton.

» Right wing Tyler Kennedy, deadpanning on the mustache he must grow through December because he lost a shootout competition to begin the month: "It's got to be a straight mustache. It should look good, though. I'm pretty excited."

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