Defenseman Martin on way back with Penguins

| Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012

The Penguins' decision to send defenseman Simon Despres back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was a pretty good indication that injured defenseman Paul Martin would be ready to play Friday against the Rangers.

Martin's ability to make it through Monday's 70-minute practice makes it even more likely that he will play when the Penguins return from a five-day layoff.

"It felt good today," Martin said. "We have some days ahead of us to get work done. Our goal is definitely for (playing) Friday."

Martin has not played since sustaining an undisclosed injury Dec. 16 in Ottawa. He skated with regular defense partner Zbynek Michalek during practice.

> > Penguins coach Dan Bylsma didn't give a report on injured forwards Pascal Dupuis and Arron Asham. Neither player skated during Monday's practice, two days after going down in New Jersey.

Bylsma confirmed that Asham was injured when a shot hit his knee. Dupuis is dealing with an upper-body injury. Bylsma said both players are day-to-day. Defenseman Deryk Engelland was also injured after blocking a shot in that game, but he returned to the lineup late in the first period and practiced Tuesday.

> > The Penguins worked on situational hockey during a lengthy practice, including four-on-four play and six-on-five, late-game situations.

> > No updates were given on the conditions of center Sidney Crosby or defenseman Kris Letang, both of whom are dealing with concussion symptoms.

> > The Penguins will host children and their families from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh and The Children's Home today for practice and a luncheon.

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