Pens' Talbot will likely sit against Red Wings

| Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

Penguins left wing Max Talbot would love to face the Detroit Red Wings when the teams meet at Mellon Arena today for the first time since he scored twice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Talbot, though, will probably miss the game.

After returning to the lineup Thursday following a bout with a groin injury, Talbot didn't practice Saturday at Southpointe and appears quite unlikely to play against Detroit today.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma did not sound optimistic regarding Talbot's availability for today's contest.

"We're still evaluating where he's at," Bylsma said. "This was our last skate before tomorrow's game. He didn't skate today and is questionable for tomorrow."

The 2009-10 season has been a struggle for Talbot, who has scored just one goal while being plagued with a multitude of injuries.

Talbot etched his name into Pittsburgh lore by scoring his team's only two goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009.

Feeling better

Right wing Tyler Kennedy and defenseman Alex Goligoski, neither of whom played Thursday against Ottawa because of undisclosed injuries, made it through the hour-long practice unscathed.

Bylsma wouldn't ink their names into today's lineup just yet but sounded optimistic that they could play.

The Penguins recalled forwards Nick Johnson and Mark Letestu yesterday.

"We're still day to day on a couple of guys," Bylsma said. "But there's a chance we could see a couple of guys (back) tomorrow."

Left wing Chris Kunitz practiced but won't play today.

Mustache drama

The Penguins staged a shootout at practice's end to determine which player will sport a mustache during February.

Ruslan Fedotenko, whose ability to grow anything resembling a mustache might be in question, was the unlucky loser. Mike Rupp and Fedotenko were the final contestants, but Rupp's between-the-legs shot was enough to beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"What you do is you dummy the goalies for eight rounds," Rupp said. "And they're like, 'This guy's pathetic,' and then you go for it."

Had Rupp lost the shootout, he would have produced an interesting mustache.

"My mustache has a Hulk Hogan vibe to it," he said. "It gets really blonde."

Rupp isn't sure that anyone will notice Fedotenko's growth.

"Feds has already been growing his for a month," Rupp said.

No easy games

There was a time when teams such as the Penguins and Red Wings could assume two points were a given against the NHL's lower-tier teams. This season, no such thinking exists, which might partially explain why the Penguins and Red Wings aren't higher in their respective standings.

In the Eastern Conference, only Toronto and Carolina are essentially out of the playoff race. Both of those teams have beaten the Penguins this year.

"It's not like it used to be where you could point to a team on your schedule and assume you had two points," Bylsma said. "Every game is tough."

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