Pascal Dupuis' right eye was nearly swollen shut -- the area surrounding it a blur of angry colors.
And the gash on his forehead -- the one from which so much blood had poured the previous evening -- still was terribly fresh.
Despite his appearance, Dupuis prefers to think of himself as day to day.
Battered as he is after being knocked face-first into the boards on a hit from behind by New York Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton late in the Penguins' 6-4 victory Tuesday night -- a check that earned Sutton a two-game suspension from the NHL -- Dupuis has not been ruled out of the Penguins' game against the Washington Capitals at 7:38 tonight at Mellon Arena.
Mind you, he is a long shot to actually dress for the game, but he said "there's a chance" if additional tests today do not detect any structural damage and coach Dan Bylsma decides to use him.
Dupuis and Sutton used to be teammates, and Dupuis said he knew that Sutton was upset about what he did.
"He felt really bad," Dupuis said. "He tried to contact me. I sent him a text back."
Dupuis did not call for Sutton to be suspended, but made it clear that, remorse aside, Sutton had to accept responsibility for his actions.
"Maybe he didn't want to do it," Dupuis said. "But he still did it."
Penguins forward Max Talbot, apparently injured when he was chopped down by Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson during the second period, described himself as "day to day" and said his injury has nothing to do with the shoulder that was surgically repaired during the offseason.
Because the Penguins have been carrying just 12 healthy forwards, they will have to recall one from their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre if Talbot or Dupuis can't play tonight, two if neither can go.
The AHL is just coming out of its all-star break, so the Penguins' front office had yet to consult with the coaching staff in Wilkes-Barre to see who is most worthy of a promotion.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who was injured in blocking a Brian Rolston shot in New Jersey last month, participated in the early part of yesterday's practice before adjourning to the locker room.
"He's still dealing with an injury from a few weeks ago," Bylsma said. "Hopefully, we'll have him [tonight]."
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, whose left ring finger was broken in a 3-1 victory in Edmonton a week ago, has not ruled out returning for the Penguins' game Sunday at Philadelphia.
"I think it is a possibility," he said.
Fleury, who did not practice yesterday, is expected to participate in today's game-day skate wearing a new glove featuring a finger hole large enough to accommodate the splint he is wearing.
While it is possible that he will back up Brent Johnson this evening, Fleury said he is disappointed that he will not be starting against the Capitals.
"It's always fun to play them," he said. "They have such a crazy offense."
This will be the first meeting of the season between the Penguins and the Capitals. ... Although Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin ranks second in the NHL with 209 shots on goal, he did not record one Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings. It was just the third time in his career -- and the first since Oct. 8, 2008 -- that he failed to get a shot. ... Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, on defenseman Mike Green not being selected to play for Canada in the Olympics: "He didn't have a great playoffs, and everybody wants to focus on that."
Dave Molinari can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . First Published January 21, 2010 5:00 AM