For at least a couple games, Penguins winger Petr Sykora played despite having an apparent shoulder problem, but the team wants him to rest the injury. He missed his second game in a row last night when they faced Florida at Mellon Arena.
"He continues to get better," interim coach Dan Bylsma said. "This time of the year it's more important to get a game's rest than to force the issue. He could get in there right now if we needed him, but it's better to get the rest. He's still day to day.
"We have a lot of games left, and he needs to be healthy going forward, not just for one game. It's just rehab and getting better. He's not far away."
Sykora has had good chemistry playing to the right of center and NHL leading scorer Evgeni Malkin, whose 10-game point streak was halted Sunday when Sykora did not play.
The Penguins have not asked winger Miroslav Satan to report to their Wilkes-Barre/Scranton minor league team but probably will at some point. If he does not report, Satan -- who cleared waivers without being claimed last week as the Penguins cleared cap room for newly acquired winger Bill Guerin -- could be suspended and the Penguins won't have to pay him.
Beyond that, the Penguins have few options.
They could put him on re-entry waivers and any team picking him up would be obligated to split his $3.5 million salary with the Penguins. That seems unlikely unless a team simply wants to block the Penguins from using Satan. Since it's past the trade deadline, Satan is not eligible to play for another NHL team this regular season or in the playoffs, and he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The Penguins, as currently constituted, can't pay half or all Satan's salary without going over the cap.
Guerin, acquired from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline last week, thought his first home game with the Penguins was important enough to fly his wife, son and three daughters into town.
"They wanted to see the first game in Pittsburgh," he said. "It's a pretty big night for our whole family.
"We've been looking forward to it for about a week."
The Guerins flew in despite the fact that it is not spring break for his children yet.
"They're skipping a couple days [of school]," he said.
"It's worth it. They'll be out here for their spring break and spend a week and get to know the area and the city, take in a few games. It's really important for us to stay together."
The Penguins' home game March 22 against Philadelphia has been picked up by NBC and will begin at 12:30 p.m. It was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. ... Brothers and former Pitt football players Scott and ChrisMcKillop visited the locker room during the Penguins' morning skate. ... The Penguins had no healthy scratches. ... Florida scratched defenseman Bryan McCabe (facial surgery) and center Nathan Horton (finger surgery).
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721.