TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Penguins notebook: Neal, Bennett end lengthy absences

Penguins/NHL Videos

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

ST. LOUIS — James Neal taking the ice for the Penguins was the real deal on Saturday night.

Neal returned against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. An upper-body injury, aggravated in the season opener on Oct. 3, had forced Neal to miss 15 consecutive games.

Neal, who resumed skating this week, said after a morning practice that he did not “have to show (coaches) anything.”

“If I'm ready, I'm ready,” Neal said, adding that he was as “close to game shape as possible.”

Neal credited his offseason training program — overseen by former Penguins player Gary Roberts — for building a “base” that allowed him to quickly regain his cardio conditioning after only a week of on-ice workouts.

The return of Neal overshadowed forward Beau Bennett's comeback.

Bennett had missed 11 consecutive games because of a lower-body injury.

Injury updates

Neal and Bennett were removed from the injured reserve list, leaving the Penguins with only three players of that designation.

Goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) has not played this season and is out at least through December and possibly three additional months.

Defenseman Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) and winger Chuck Kobasew (broken foot) are out for at least several more weeks.

Three's no crowd

Defenseman Paul Martin did not play against St. Louis, though coach Dan Bylsma offered no injury-related reason for the absence.

Martin did not practice Friday because of a maintenance day — a term the Penguins often use to explain absences for nagging injuries or ones not fully diagnosed by club physicians.

Only three Penguins defensemen — veterans Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen and rookie Olli Maatta — have played in all 17 games. Martin had not missed a game before Saturday night.

Martin's absence forced Deryk Engelland to play at his natural position because the Penguins carried only six healthy defensemen.

Engelland had played eight contests as a checking-line forward.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Pirates must land Lester
  2. Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’
  3. After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
  4. So Many Questions: Ahmed from ‘Sullivan & Son’ believes laughter promotes tolerance
  5. Pirates manage to stumble on the bases in bid for sweep of Giants
  6. Pirates notebook: Trade rumors for Red Sox pitcher Lester still swirling
  7. Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
  8. Former Shady Side Academy standout set to take field for Pitt
  9. Harrison woman burned in trailer fire
  10. 30 cited for blocking street at union rally at UPMC facility
  11. Pa. road projects safe from feds’ transportation funding delays
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.