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Penguins' Dupuis promises return to 100 percent

| Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

Pascal Dupuis defiantly predicted he will make a full recovery from right knee surgery.

The Penguins right wing Thursday spoke with the media for the first time since tearing an ACL in December. He said he also tore his MCL but wanted that ligament to heal naturally, which is why his surgery was delayed until Feb. 12.

However, the MCL did not improve on its own, forcing him to have reconstructive surgery on both ligaments. He is projected to return in six to eight months, which could see him back before the 2014-15 season.

“If you guys know me,” Dupuis said, “you know I'll be shooting for the six months.”

Dupuis was injured Dec. 23 in Ottawa when defenseman Marc Methot's hip check sent center Sidney Crosby flying toward Dupuis. Dupuis, 34, said he immediately knew something was seriously wrong with his knee.

“I couldn't feel the bottom half of my leg when I tried to get off the ice,” he said. “I was just holding my leg.”

Still, Dupuis insisted that his speed — his greatest asset — won't be compromised when he returns.

“I'm definitely coming back at 100 percent,” he said. “I'm not worried about that.”

• Right wing Chuck Kobasew skated on the third line with centerBrandon Sutter and left wing Tanner Glass against Montreal on Thursday night. Kobasew, who started the season with a couple of goals on the opening homestand before missing chunks of time because of injuries, said the Olympic break was “probably a good thing for him.”

• Defenseman Simon Despres was a surprising scratch from the lineup despite steady praise from coach Dan Bylsma and assistant Todd Reirden in recent days. The Penguins went with defenseman Deryk Engelland, who has played primarily at forward the past two months.

• Injured centerJoe Vitale (wrist) and left wing Taylor Pyatt (lower body) returned to the lineup and played with right wing Craig Adams on the fourth line.

• The Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers game March 16 at Consol Energy Center has been selected to be NBC's game of the week and will start at 12:30 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.

— Josh Yohe

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