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Penguins notebook: Comeau eases into on-ice work

| Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, 8:48 p.m.
A second-period shot rings of the post behind the Penguins' Blake Comeau and Senators goaltender Craig Anderson on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
A second-period shot rings of the post behind the Penguins' Blake Comeau and Senators goaltender Craig Anderson on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

CALGARY, Alberta — Penguins forward Blake Comeau skated on his own Thursday during practice at Stampede Corral and took shots for the first time since injuring his wrist Dec. 22 at Florida.

With head athletic trainer Chris Stewart watching, Comeau, who has missed the past 18 games, worked on wrist shots, slap shots and stickhandling.

“Comeau is cleared to start shooting,” coach Mike Johnston said. “That's the main thing for him: to get cleared to start shooting.

“He's been skating on his own and with (strength and conditioning coach) Mike Kadar. His conditioning and his skating are getting up to the level that we need, but it's now handling a puck, shooting, taking slap shots, that type of thing. He will not play on this trip, but we're hoping he will be available some time into next week.”

Comeau was not available to reporters after practice — standard procedure for anyone not practicing with the team. In 32 games before he was hurt, Comeau scored 11 goals while finding chemistry with Evgeni Malkin. His 97 hits still rank fifth on the team.

“It may be a slower process than we think, but we'll see,” Johnston said. “He's at that stage right now. As players start to join the team, then they're close to playing. He hasn't done that yet for a full practice.”

Ehrhoff busy at home

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has been working out in Pittsburgh while recovering from a possible concussion suffered Jan. 28 at Washington.

Ehrhoff went to hit Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin but bounced off, and his head hit the ice on the way down. Johnston said the team was following the proper procedure for concussion protocol but never explicitly said that Ehrhoff had suffered a concussion.

Ehrhoff has missed the past three games.

“He's working out on a regular basis,” Johnston said. “That's a really good sign. I believe ... I think he has started to skate. I'm waiting for some updates on that, but I believe he is starting to skate. I know he was doing the workouts then was going to skate. Hopefully when we get back, he'll actually be able to take a couple of practices. “

Old-school approach

Thursday's wasn't a typical practice. The Penguins dressed at Scotiabank Saddledome, where the Flames play their games, but because of building availability walked across the street to Stampede Corral, a relic of a building that hosted hockey during the 1988 Olympics.

The Corral also hosts rodeo events and tennis.

Dressed in full gear, players traded skates for tennis shoes on the walk over.

Some even took the bus, despite it being about 100 yards away. Defenseman Paul Martin enjoyed the whole experience.

“Being from Minnesota, it brings me back to when you were a kid playing on outdoor rinks walking back and forth, inside, outside,” Martin said. “It's fun.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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