Penguins notebook: Kunitz a 'possibility' to play in rematch
PHILADELPHIA — Three years had passed since Chris Kunitz missed a game because of an injury.
It only made sense his run of health and luck would end on the day the Penguins became the first NHL team this season to surpass 400 man-games lost to injury.
Kunitz (lower body) did not play in the Penguins' 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center. He is day-to-day but a “possibility” to play when the clubs meet again Sunday afternoon at Consol Energy Center, coach Dan Bylsma said.
Kunitz participated in the pregame warm-up skate Saturday. However, he was replaced in the lineup by winger Jayson Megna, who was recalled from the AHL on Friday.
Kunitz crashed hard with both legs into a goal post during the Penguins' home win over Washington on Tuesday night.
He had not missed any contest since he was suspended for Game 4 of an opening-round playoff series in 2011. He had not missed games because of injury since failing to play in 13 consecutive from Feb. 6-March 5 of that season.
The Flyers unveiled a statue in the likeness of late former coach Fred Shero at the Philadelphia Sports Complex on Saturday morning. The ceremony was attended by Flyers chairman Ed Snider, several of Shero's former players and his son, Penguins general manager Ray Shero.
“We called him ‘Freddy the Fog' for a reason,” Snider said at the ceremony. “Walking in the wrong doors — (and) one time we were on the road, I had to get him for TV we couldn't find him, and the reason we couldn't find him (was because) he was lost.”
Ray Shero praised Snider, the Flyers' original owner, and described the ceremony as “great.”
Fred Shero was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last November. He coached the Flyers for seven seasons from 1971-78. His clubs reached the Stanley Cup Final from 1974-76, winning those first two seasons.
What's up, Doc?
Injured right winger Beau Bennett should be re-evaluated by a Penguins physician on Sunday, coach Dan Bylsma said.
“There's reason for optimism, I guess,” Bylsma said. “It's not black-and-white perfect, but he's been able to practice and do a lot … it's been a good week from that standpoint.”
Bennett has missed 43 consecutive games because of an injured wrist. His projected return was delayed by a setback.
Bylsma repeatedly has said Bennett is unlikely to jump into a role on the top two lines, even though he was skating with center Sidney Crosby at the time of his injury on Nov. 22 and the Penguins are without their two top right wingers in Pascal Dupuis (knee) and James Neal (concussion).
Bennett has played in only 12 games in his second NHL season.
Bylsma said defenseman Kris Letang's return to skating in full equipment did not indicate a quicker time frame for re-evaluation by team doctors.
Letang was stricken with a stroke on Jan. 28 and officially diagnosed about a week later. On Feb. 7, the Penguins in a statement said Letang would be re-evaluated after at least six weeks of using blood-thinning medication.
Letang, a finalist for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) last season, has missed 32 games this campaign because of the stroke, an infected elbow and a strained knee.
Around the boards
Center Brandon Sutter played in his 400th game. … Winger Craig Adams now leads the Penguins with 131 consecutive games played, including playoffs. … The Penguins-Flyers game Sunday is a 12:30 p.m. start, though it originally was scheduled for the evening.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
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