Staal has bum knee; sits out Devils game

| Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012

Center Jordan Staal did not play Saturday against New Jersey, only 24 hours after he injured his left knee against the Rangers.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said for a second consecutive day that no update on Staal was available.

The Penguins are hoping that Staal does not have a season-ending injury, something that would cripple their already depleted lineup.

Staal was seen leaving Consol Energy Center on Saturday afternoon. He was walking without crutches, but was hampered by a pronounced limp.

"We hope he's OK," Penguins center Joe Vitale said. "You can't replace what that guy can do. We know that. But we need to come together and do our best."

Pascal Dupuis, normally a winger, played center against the Devils. The team's other centers were Evgeni Malkin, Richard Park and Vitale.

Staal is having his best season. Despite missing five games with injuries, he is on pace to crack the 30-goal barrier for the first time while maintaining his status as one of the league's best defensive players. He has 15 goals.

Jeffrey progresses

Dustin Jeffrey skated during yesterday morning's optional workout and reported no problems with his surgically repaired knee.

Jeffrey had a setback early in the season after returning from an ACL injury that occurred last March in Philadelphia. Although he remains weeks away from playing, Jeffrey said he is encouraged by his knee's recent improvement.

Again, no updates

No report was given on the status of center Sidney Crosby or defenseman Kris Letang, both of whom are dealing with head injuries.

Fleury's milestone

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played in his 400th career game yesterday.

First responder honored

The Penguins held a special ceremony for Somerset coroner Wally Miller on Saturday. Miller, a longtime Penguins season ticket holder, was one of the first responders to the scene when Flight 93 crashed in Somerset on Sept. 11, 2001.

Family members of Flight 93 victims contacted the Penguins when learning of Miller's passion for the team, hoping to do something nice for the man who helped identify all of the victims. The Penguins donated a suite for Miller and family members of the victims at yesterday's game.

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