Penguins notebook: Injured Goc could return during Round 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Center Marcel Goc could return to play in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Goc joined the Penguins for a morning practice Wednesday before Game 4 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
He did not play, missing a 12th consecutive game because of an ankle injury.
Goc practiced with teammates Tuesday for the first time since he was injured, and after the morning session Wednesday, he stayed on the ice for additional conditioning exercises.
There are two days before Game 5 on Saturday night, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma did not rule out Goc being available for later-series action.
“It's a possibility,” Bylsma said. “I'd like to see him play in Round 1.”
Goc was not available for comment per a Penguins policy on injured players. Acquired at the NHL trade deadline March 5, he was the club's third-line center at the time of his injury.
Winger Brian Gibbons did not play in Game 4. He also did not practice.
Gibbons was injured early in the Penguins' Game 2 loss, favoring his shoulder after a collision with Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen.
Winger Jayson Megna again replaced Gibbons in the Penguins' lineup for Game 4.
Defenseman Olli Maatta was not nominated for the Calder Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's best rookie. NHL writers instead gave more votes to Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon and a couple of Tampa Bay forwards: Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson.
Many Penguins said they were disappointed but not surprised. Only 10 defensemen — three in the past 25 years — have received the Calder Trophy.
“That's how the league works,” winger Jussi Jokinen said. “All the forwards who get the points get the recognition. But, to me, he had a pretty remarkable season. As a team, we know his value. We feel sorry for him that he didn't get it. I think all of our team thinks he deserved it.”
Maatta shrugged off the perceived snub and insisted he was not counting on a finalist nod.
Maatta, 19, produced nine goals and 29 points in 78 games during the regular season.
Though he secured a roster spot only because of Kris Letang's knee injury late in training camp, Maatta quickly won over coaches and teammates.
Bylsma said Maatta was used on a top defensive pairing — along with Matt Niskanen — for about 30 games when injuries depleted the Penguins' defense corps.
Select members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote on most NHL Awards, including the Calder. The winners are announced at the NHL Awards Show on June 24.
The league will announce finalists for its awards over the next two weeks.
Jimmy Fallon was partially correct on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday. During a skit poking fun at numerous NHL players, Fallon said Niskanen is likely the NHL's poorest darts player and forward Beau Bennett is most likely to “frost his tips.”
Bennett jokingly took exception.
“I could see where they're coming from,” Bennett said, referring to his hair. “But that is all natural California sun.”
Niskanen, however, said Fallon's joke about him might have been accurate.
“Not that good,” Niskanen said of his darts game. “He called it.”
Niskanen also said he didn't think the picture used on “The Tonight Show” was particularly flattering.
“I don't know what I could have done differently,” Niskanen said. “An angle? A shadow? I do look cross-eyed.”
Around the boards
Game 5 between the Penguins and Blue Jackets will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Consol Energy Center, the NHL announced Wednesday. Tickets remain available at Ticketmaster's website and outlets and the arena box office. ... The Penguins made no lineup changes for Game 4.
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.
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- Penguins notebook: Blues defenseman Bortuzzo sticks to brutish ways
- Penguins’ Perron returning to form
- Penguins notebook: Cole more at ease facing former team
- Starkey: Farewell to NHL fighting
- Penguins can’t solve Sharks’ defense in defeat
- Hard-hitting Penguins veteran winger Kunitz is last of a dying breed
- Occupying playoff spot on Thanksgiving good harbinger for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Optional practice yields unusual defensemen demographic
- Penguins hire Gonchar as defense development coach