Penguins notebook: Neal to practice soon
NEW YORK — Right winger James Neal is pushing to practice with the Penguins.
Coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday morning that could happen soon.
“I don't anticipate him rejoining practice until probably Friday,” Bylsma said of Neal, about whom a return-to-practice date had not been made public.
Neal joined Penguins teammates on the ice for the first time since Oct. 3, when an upper-body injury was re-aggravated in the Penguins' season-opening win over New Jersey. He avoided most drills but took shots on goalies and made and received passes Wednesday.
He missed a 15th consecutive game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Without Neal — and injured replacement Beau Bennett (lower body), whom Bylsma said should play at St. Louis on Saturday night — the Penguins had lacked production from whoever was the right winger on their second scoring line. Before facing the Rangers, that player had scored only a goal and recorded two assists.
Neal, who worked out on his own after practice Wednesday, has skated the past three days.
“Given his skate the last two days, in particular how he responded to getting back on the ice Monday, it's good progression,” Bylsma said.
Left winger Chris Kunitz played against the Rangers after missing two consecutive days of practice for maintenance.
He has played in 160 consecutive regular-season games dating to March 8, 2011, and that streak is fourth among teammates. Center Brandon Sutter has played in 242 consecutive games, leading forward Craig Adams (222) and right winger Pascal Dupuis (215.)
Captain Sidney Crosby said he has reached out to former Canadian Olympic teammate Rick Nash, who missed a 12th consecutive game for the Rangers on Wednesday because of a concussion. Crosby sent Nash a text message recently.
“It's a unique injury,” Crosby said.
Nash was injured by a hit from San Jose's Brad Stuart on Oct. 8.
The Rangers have declined comment regarding treatment sought by Nash. There have been reports of him seeing concussion specialists.
Crosby said the cloud of uncertainty and fallout that follows a concussion diagnosis — and the lack of similarities between one concussion and another — “can definitely make it a tough thing to go through.”
“You just don't have a lot of answers,” Crosby said.
Crosby missed all but eight games from Jan. 5, 2011, to March 15, 2012, because of concussion symptoms.
Around the boards
Rangers center J.T. Miller, a Coraopolis native, played against the Penguins for the second time in his young NHL career. Miller, 20, was a healthy scratch in New York's previous contest. … Winger Matt D'Agostini was a healthy scratch for the fourth consecutive game.
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.