Penguins notebook: Neal returns, but only briefly
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — James Neal's effort was the real deal on Saturday.
Still, he seems unlikely to return for Game 3 of the Penguins' opening-round playoff series against the New York Islanders.
His injured right ankle crammed into a skate boot, Neal tried to practice with the Penguins on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.
His participation lasted one drill, or about 15 minutes.
Neal had not taken the ice since leaving Game 1 on Wednesday. He was injured by a hit from New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic early in the second period of that contest.
Neal had not skated before Saturday, which for him began with an individual workout of about 10 minutes. During that session, for which he donned only a track suit, Neal tested his ankle with tight turns, starts-and-stops, and shooting and stick-handling work.
He is not expected to play for the Penguins in Game 3 on Sunday, though coach Dan Bylsma did not provide an update on Neal's status because of a new playoff policy on injured players.
The best-of-seven series is tied, 1-1.
The Penguins were without only two players for at least part of practice Saturday.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik and center Evgeni Malkin did not participate.
Malkin, who has been dealing with an ailing left shoulder for two months, did briefly play with the puck while not wearing full gear before practice. He received treatment from the Penguins' medical staff during the practice and is expected to play in Game 3.
Orpik could miss a fifth consecutive game dating to the last week of the regular season.
He was injured (lower body) on April 23 and had not resumed practicing until Wednesday for a pregame session. Orpik took a full practice on Thursday but has not participated since.
Without Orpik, the Penguins' annual hits leader among defensemen, the Penguins have been outhit in each of Games 1 and 2 by a combined 72-64.
Captain Sidney Crosby said he felt good a day after his first game since March 30.
He played in Game 2 on Friday night. Crosby scored twice and played more than 23 minutes.
Saturday marked five weeks since a puck hit him in the face, causing a broken jaw that required surgery and multiple oral procedures.
Crosby is wearing protective gear for his mouth. He is not sure if that gear will be required if the Penguins advance to Round 2.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Rossi: Gonchar is what Pens need
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- Penguins sign defensive prospect
- Pens GM’s legacy largely will be shaped by moves in coming weeks
- Defenseman Martin’s agent planning meeting with Penguins at draft
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin