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Winger Kunitz eyes return to Pens' lineup

Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz doesn't want to rush his return from something as delicate as abdominal surgery, but he indicated there is a legitimate chance he could play Saturday in Montreal.

Kunitz practiced again with the team Wednesday at Mellon Arena and said his return should be near. But he doesn't feel 100 percent yet.

"I still feel things out there," said Kunitz, referring to the abdominal injury. "I don't know if that's from the injury or just part of the healing process."

The Penguins are off today, but Kunitz plans to skate. Then, he will likely practice with the team Friday. If he gets through that practice and feels well, he might play against the Canadiens.

"Friday will be the test," he said.

» Left wing Max Talbot left Penguins practice after about 15 minutes. He has been bothered by a sore groin and isn't likely to play this weekend in Montreal and Washington. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wasn't sure of Talbot's status but said his inability to make it through practice was discouraging.

» Defenseman Jay McKee, a scratch Monday against Buffalo, also left practice early and is believed to be banged up.

» The Penguins welcomed local children from the Make-a-Wish program to yesterday's practice. After practice, the children and their families had lunch at the Igloo club and were visited by all of the Penguins players and coaches.

» Center Evgeni Malkin said he will likely wear No. 11 in the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver. His Russian teammate, Ilya Kovalchuk, historically wears No. 71 in international play.

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