Penguins notebook: Sutter, Vitale return to practice
Two days after they were unable to finish Monday's Game 6 victory at Columbus, center Brandon Sutter and right wing Joe Vitale were back on the ice for practice.
Both joined winger Brian Gibbons, who left a Game 2 victory early after scoring a pair of goals, as the Penguins practiced Wednesday morning at Consol Energy Center.
Neither offered many details of the injuries, though Vitale's was hard to miss: He and Blue Jackets left winger Blake Comeau collided knee-on-knee early in the third period.
“All I can say is I woke up today, and it felt great,” Vitale said. “Felt good enough to skate and felt good out there.
“It was a scary blow,” he added. “It's not a situation you want to find yourself in during the game — going knee-to-knee with anyone. It scared me at first.”
Vitale refuted the idea that he did it intentionally.
“It's not the kind of player I am,” Vitale said. “Especially that time of the game, with what we're looking forward to, I wouldn't want to hurt anybody or hurt myself or put anyone in jeopardy. I think we just kind of got tangled and got mixed up in it. Freak accident. I hope he's OK.”
Sutter was one of the Penguins' most impactful players in the Columbus series. He had three goals, five points, was a plus-6 and won 50 percent of his faceoffs.
The only specifics Sutter would offer on his injury was that the first occurrence wasn't when he turned awkwardly and went into the boards, trailed by Columbus forward Nick Foligno.
“The last shift wasn't where I originally felt something,” Sutter said. “I definitely knew after that I wasn't able to get back out there and be effective. I think it was probably better I didn't go.”
Orpik remains out
One noticeable absence from practice was defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Orpik left a practice at Southpointe last Friday less than halfway through and was replaced for Games 5 and 6 by Robert Bortuzzo.
Coach Dan Bylsma offered no injury updates, other than to say, “Some of those people you saw today. Some of them you did not.”
Per team policy, the Penguins do not provide injury specifics during the playoffs.
Center Evgeni Malkin practiced but was not a visible presence in the Penguins locker room afterward.
Perhaps he was busy celebrating Metallurg Magnitogorsk's first KHL Gagarin Cup title.
Malkin's hometown team — which is led by former NHL coach Mike Keenan — defeated Lev Praha, 7-4, in Game 7 on Wednesday.
Keenan became the first North American coach to win a Gagarin Cup and Stanley Cup. He won the latter with the New York Rangers in 1993-94.
They're fans, too
Bortuzzo said he would watch.
Same for fellow defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Vitale wanted to avoid hockey altogether and said he would purposely avoid the three Game 7s being played around the NHL on Wednesday night and instead spend time with his wife and kids.
“Try to get away a little bit because obviously things are going to start heating up for us a little bit,” Vitale said.
Bortuzzo said he has watched the Stanley Cup playoffs since he was little. He'll watch for tips, though he'll leave scouting up to the Penguins coaches. Mostly, he's a fan.
“I love this time of year,” Bortuzzo said. “Always have since I was a young kid. Since I turned pro, I've tended to watch a little more hockey because I think it can help out your game. Maybe a little less during the season, but playoff hockey … I'm watching a lot of these teams.”
No comment would do
Asked whether he subscribes to the theory that an injury player can lose his starting spot, Bylsma talked in circles for 58 seconds before finally cutting himself off.
“I guess I'm just not going to answer your question,” Bylsma finally said.
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’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Penguins sign defensive prospect
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel
- Examining the draft trends of the last 3 Penguins GMs
- Defenseman Martin’s agent planning meeting with Penguins at draft
- Shopping season begins for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Penguins take winger Sprong in 2nd round, add 3 more forwards in NHL Draft
- Starkey: Kessel worth Penguins’ inquiry