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Penguins notebook: Wilkes-Barre welcomes Vokoun for conditioning assignment

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 7:18 p.m.
 

Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun will be re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on an AHL conditioning assignment that will begin Wednesday and cover three games this weekend.

Vokoun has not played this season since a blood clot was discovered in his pelvis in September. He has been practicing with the team since being cleared for contact in February. A conditioning assignment can last three games. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton plays Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Bylsma said Vokoun is not scheduled to appear in all three games.

“He had increased intensity level in practice,” Bylsma said. “He does have some body soreness and things he's dealing with, but at this point in time we have to see if he can do it. So, he will get that opportunity to do that in Wilkes-Barre this weekend.”

Vokoun was signed to a two-year contract two summers ago to provide a reliable veteran backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. Vokoun took over for Fleury four games into the 2013 playoffs and held onto the postseason job. Rookie Jeff Zatkoff has backed up Fleury this season.

•Forwards Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Olli Maatta were at practice Tuesday after missing Sunday's game in Colorado. Bylsma collectively termed them all as “day to day.” Maatta, who missed Saturday's game at Minnesota (upper-body), said he “feels good.” Crosby's missed game was his first of the season, denying him a chance to play in all 82 for the first time in his career. “I'd love to have (played all 82), but I think I've played more than 82 at this point if you're counting (the Olympics),” Crosby said. “So, I'm OK with that. What's most important is you feel good at the right time, and that's the playoffs. So you have to be smart.”

• Every day over recent weeks, defenseman Kris Letang has done two things: Skate and consult with team medical personnel. Letang, out since a January stroke, said he feels “100 percent of myself” both on and off the ice. But Letang added that he “still has to talk to people around me” before he returns to game action.

• Defenseman Paul Martin reported some “general soreness” but declared himself “feeling good” after playing three games over a four-day period after returning from an absence of more than six weeks because of a broken hand. Martin said the plan going into last week's road trip was for him not to play in the Saturday-Sunday back-to-back games, but he played out of necessity.

— Chris Adamski

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