Penguins notebook: Bylsma says Martin will return to lineup soon

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BOSTON -- Defenseman Paul Martin, who is cwhen the Penguins beat Boston, 3-2, at TD Garden.

His absence might end soon, however, as coach Dan Bylsma singled him out as the player with a long-term injury who is most likely to return before the end of the regular season.

Center Sidney Crosby, who missed his eighth game in a row because of a broken jaw, and winger James Neal, who hasn't dress for the past five games because of a concussion, were the other possibilities.

"Really, right now, Paul Martin is a guy who is really on a clear path ... continuing to progress in his rehab and has a chance to ... probably play at some point in time," Bylsma said. "Other than that, it's not definitive for anyone else, as a plan."

He added that Crosby and Neal, who did not accompany the Penguins to Boston, worked out on the ice Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Crosby is Masterton nominee

Crosby is the Penguins' nominee for the Masterton Trophy, as selected by members of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

The Masterton recognizes "perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey."

Crosby, who missed much of the past two seasons because of injuries, was the NHL's leading scorer before Saturday night.

During NESN's broadcast of the game Saturday afternoon, play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards criticized Pittsburgh writers' nomination of Matt Cooke, who effectively ended the career of Bruins center Marc Savard with a blindside hit several seasons ago, for the award last season, and invoked the name of an assassin while discussing Cooke.

"Nominating Cooke for the Masterton is about the equivalent of nominating Sirhan Sirhan for prisoner of the year," Edwards said. "An outrageous lack of judgment on the part of the Pittsburgh press."

Sirhan murdered presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero was visibly enraged when he learned of Edwards' comments and confronted him in the first intermission.

Shero declined to comment on what Edwards had said, but shortly after their conversation, Edwards posted the following on Twitter:

"I am sorry for insulting Matt Cooke, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the National Hockey League, and anyone else upset by my Cooke comments. I made a mistake. My fault all the way. This is my apology. Bad week, bad emotional reaction by me."

Fleury will be busy

Although backup Tomas Vokoun played exceptionally well against the Bruins, stopping 38 of 40 shots, Marc-Andre Fleury is scheduled to be the Penguins' go-to goalie in the final week of the regular season.

Bylsma said Fleury is penciled in to start three of the Penguins' remaining four games. He did not offer specifics, but Fleury is expected to play Monday in Ottawa, Thursday in New Jersey and Saturday at home against Carolina, with Vokoun taking the rescheduled home game against Buffalo Tuesday.

The Penguins were supposed to play the Sabres Saturday night, but that game got pushed back three days when their game against the Bruins Friday was postponed until Saturday.

"The plan was for Marc to play three games the rest of the way," Bylsma said. "And it will remain that way."

Bylsma on verge of 200 wins

Bylsma is on the cusp of earning a place in NHL history.

The win against Boston raised his record to 199-91-25 in 315 games behind the bench and moved him into position to reach 200 victories sooner than any previous coach.

That distinction is held by Bruce Boudreau, now with Anaheim, who won 200 of his first 326 games.


Left winger Chris Kunitz's assist on Kris Letang's third-period goal was his 400th NHL point. ... Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle were outside the team's locker room after the game. ... The Penguins' healthy scratches were forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Steve MacIntyre and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres.

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First Published April 21, 2013 4:00 AM


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