NEW YORK -- Max Talbot tugged a skate onto his broken right foot before the Penguins' game-day yesterday and, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, stepped onto the ice at Madison Square Garden. Long enough to skate in a tight circle a couple of times.
It wasn't much of a test for his injured foot, but it didn't have to be. Talbot already had decided he would sit out Game 4 of the Penguins' second-round series against the New York Rangers last night. That determination, he said, was made shortly after he woke up, when he concluded the pain simply was too severe.
"It hurts when you put pressure on it and when you walk on it," he said.
Talbot, who was injured when he blocked a shot by New York defenseman Paul Mara in Game 3, is officially listed as day-to-day, and there is no indication when he might return.
"I'll see how the pain goes," Talbot said. "Hopefully, I can be back as soon as possible. It's never fun to be out, but I think that's the smart decision, just to rest it."
His place last night was taken by left winger Gary Roberts, who sat out four games because of a sore groin and another as a healthy scratch.
"Obviously, with the way this team has played, it's a tough lineup to crack these days," Roberts said. "But we knew it wasn't going to be a real smooth ride all the way. ... Unfortunately, for Max, he broke his foot."
Talbot gives the Penguins quality penalty-killing and high-energy work in the middle, but Roberts adds a physical dimension and experience that can be invaluable during the playoffs.
"We have depth, and we're going to use it," coach Michel Therrien said. "When you get to the playoffs, you need a lot of depth."
Some people took exception to Jaromir Jagr's suggestion a few days ago that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin don't play at the same level Mario Lemieux once reached. Crosby isn't one of them.
"I don't think we expect to, so I don't think we're really worried about it," he said. "I don't think we've ever come out and said we were in his class.
"I think we've been compared to guys before, but I think that's fine with us. Whatever it takes to help our team. We don't expect to get 20 points [in a series] or be in Mario's class, but we expect to help our team. That's what we're trying to do."
Lemieux, who made his playoff debut when he was 23 and routinely played despite severe back problems, averaged 1.61 points in 107 postseason appearances. Crosby, 20, had averaged 1.42 in 12, five of which he played on a broken foot, going into Game 4.
Defenseman Rob Scuderi got a bruised left foot when he blocked a shot in Game 3, but there apparently is no fracture and he was in the lineup for Game 4.
"It's obviously sore, but I don't think it's anything I haven't dealt with before," he said after the game-day skate. "I don't see any reason why I shouldn't play. It wouldn't impede anything I'd do during a game. If it did, we have Darryl [Sydor] here. He's more than capable, obviously. If I really thought I was going to be hurting my team, I wouldn't play, but I don't think that's going to be the case at all."
Therrien said the decision to use Scuderi as opposed to giving him the night off and dressing Sydor, who has not been used in these playoffs, was not difficult because Scuderi "is able to play."
Malkin is a finalist for the Lester Pearson Award, which the NHL Players' Association presents to the league's most outstanding player, based on voting by its members. The other finalists are Washington left winger Alexander Ovechkin and Calgary right winger Jarome Iginla.
Those three also are finalists for the Hart Trophy, which the NHL gives to the most valuable player of the regular season. Hart voting is conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The Pearson will be presented at the NHL's awards show June 12 in Toronto.
With left winger Sean Avery (spleen) and center Blair Betts (fractured left orbital) hurt, left winger Petr Prucha and center Lauri Korpikoski were in the Rangers' lineup last night. Defenseman Christian Backman (poor play) was replaced by Jason Strudwick.