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Penguins notebook: Orpik out again, but improving

| Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, 12:45 p.m.
The Penguins' Philip Samuelsson clears the zone against the Maple Leafs in the second period Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Philip Samuelsson clears the zone against the Maple Leafs in the second period Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik is showing signs of improvement.

Concussion symptoms forced him to miss a fourth consecutive game for the Penguins on Monday night, but he again skated with injured teammates before a morning practice at Consol Energy Center.

Coach Dan Bylsma said Orpik was “doing better.” Bylsma added the Penguins could learn more after Orpik is re-evaluated by team doctors Tuesday.

Orpik was knocked unconscious during an attack by Boston's Shawn Thornton Dec. 7 at TD Garden. He experienced short-term memory loss, headaches and neck soreness.

Orpik, per club policy on injured players who are not practicing, was not available for comment.

Coming soon

Defenseman Rob Scuderi and winger Tanner Glass practiced with teammates before the Penguins played Toronto on Monday night.

Glass (broken hand) could be available to play in three to five days, Bylsma said. He has missed the past 11 games.

Scuderi (broken ankle) said he is eight to 10 days from rejoining the lineup. That would take him through the three-day Christmas break Dec. 24-26.

Scuderi has missed the past 24 games. He was injured in a loss Oct. 26 at Toronto.

The Penguins played without their top four defensemen Monday night. It was the second consecutive game they did not have Orpik, Scuderi, Paul Martin (broken tibia) and Kris Letang (upper body).

Letang out for a while

Letang will not be available until after the Christmas break, Bylsma said.

The Penguins have not said if Letang is on the long-term injury list, which temporarily would eliminate his $3.5 million salary-cap hit but also prevent him from playing in 10 games and for 24 days.

Scuderi, Glass, Martin and backup goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) are believed to be on the long-term injury list. Team policy is not to publicly distinguish between injured reserve and long-term injury designation because the latter is an indication of where the Penguins stand against the cap.

Malkin's injury not serious

Center Evgeni Malkin missed his third game of the season Monday night. He is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Bylsma said.

Malkin's left leg was injured when he crashed backward into the end-zone boards at Detroit on Saturday night. Medical tests indicated his injury was muscular.

Malkin is the NHL's third-leading scorer with 41 points.

More help

Short-handed because of injuries, right winger James Neal's suspension and defenseman Deryk Engelland's looming discipline hearing, the Penguins recalled two players from AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Winger Harry Zolnierczyk was promoted and worked on a makeshift second line with winger Jayson Megna and Jussi Jokinen at center.

Defenseman Philip Samuelsson joined the Penguins and played in his first NHL game. He was paired with Simon Despres, his one-time defense partner in the AHL.

Samuelsson, the Penguins' second-round draft pick (61st overall) in 2009, wore No. 55, which was last donned by Sergei Gonchar and previously by Hall of Famer Larry Murphy, both defensemen.

Samuelsson's father, Ulf, attended his son's debut. Ulf Samuelsson, who wore No. 5 with the Penguins, is a member of the franchise's all-time team. He is an assistant coach for the New York Rangers, whom the Penguins play on the road Wednesday night.

The Penguins had seven AHL regulars on their 23-man roster as of Monday.

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

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