Penguins notebook: Martin, Neal could return soon
The Penguins are finally getting healthy.
Defenseman Paul Martin, right wing James Neal, right wing Jayson Megna and right wing Chuck Kobasew all returned to practice Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
Although coach Dan Bylsma did not reveal medical specifics, all could be returning to the lineup in a matter of days.
Martin, who broke his leg in November, is hungry to return and said playing a few games before the Olympics begin in February is also on his mind.
“I felt good, actually,” Martin said. “My timing was a little off, but as far as being out there, I felt great. I'd like to play Monday (against Florida), but I want to get a couple of practices under my belt, and see how it feels Sunday, and go from there.”
Neal missed the Penguins' game Wednesday against Washington after suffering an upper-body injury during the team's recent road trip to Canada.
He sounds like a good bet to play against Florida on Monday.
Neal participated for the entire practice Saturday, showing no problems.
“I feel good now,” Neal said. “And I've got a good couple of practice days here to get ready for Monday (against Florida).”
Kobasew (lower-body injury) also practiced with the Penguins on Saturday and reported feeling healthy following the workout.
Mega-jump to top line
Megna has been out of the lineup for almost five weeks because of an injury suffered against Toronto, when goaltender Jonathan Bernier collided with Megna near the Maple Leafs blue line. However, Megna not only returned to practice Monday, he found himself on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.
Bylsma loves Megna's speed.
“If I didn't before practice today,” Bylsma said, “the speed that he played with in practice today was evident right from the start.”
Megna said he didn't want to speculate about when he would return to the lineup but feels like he could play this week.
The Penguins, in the midst of the lightest portion of their schedule, were given days off Thursday and Friday. There was no such thing on Saturday, as the Penguins labored through their longest, most grueling practice of the season.
Practice lasted approximately 90 minutes and couldn't end until a goal was scored in an impromptu scrimmage. It started as a five-on-five contest, then four-on-four, then three-on-three. Still, no one had scored. Finally, during a two-on-two portion of the scrimmage, Sidney Crosby set up Neal for a goal that ended practice, much to the delight of the players.
Bylsma on Despres
Bylsma acknowledged that defenseman Simon Despres was sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton partially because he didn't need to clear waivers. The Penguins, though, are still looking for more consistency from the former first-round draft pick.
“If he was in the top six, it would not be an issue,” said Bylsma, who noted that Despres did play “probably his best stretch of hockey” during the past two months. “There's competition. There are eight (defensemen), nine with Simon. That would leave three out of the lineup. It's not a situation we're going to have Simon in at this time.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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.
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Penguins top prospect Pouliot eyes quick recovery from surgery
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title