The Penguins are hopeful that the injury forward Max Talbot sustained in practice Friday is nothing more than a bruise, although the severity of it remains to be seen.
Talbot, who was helped off the ice at Southpointe favoring his right foot, traveled with the team to Columbus, and coach Dan Bylsma isn't ruling Talbot out for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets.
"Right now, he's got a bruise, and we'll go from there," Bylsma said.
Talbot was in discomfort as he left the ice after absorbing a shot by linemate Matt Cooke.
"It's never fun to see anybody get hurt," team captain Sidney Crosby said. "Hopefully, he'll be OK. It looked like it got him pretty good."
The Penguins also are monitoring forward Evgeni Malkin, who missed practice.
Bylsma said Malkin was injured in the first period of Thursday's 3-2 win against Atlanta, though the coach did not specify the injury.
Malkin finished that game, but he played just 16 minutes, 26 seconds and had no shots or points.
"We'll see [today]," Bylsma said. "He's day to day."
Malkin had not been held without a shot since March 14, a span of 44 regular-season and playoff games, and had had at least one shot in every regular-season and playoff home game since March 9, 2009.
Defensemen Brooks Orpik sat out practice because of illness, but there is a good chance he will be able to play tonight.
With the status of Talbot and Malkin unknown, and with Mike Comrie out because of an unspecified injury, Bylsma said the Penguins might call up a forward from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for tonight's game, even if only as a precaution.
In conjunction with the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, an outdoor ice rink will be built for public skating and youth hockey games at the new Stage AE parking lot next to Heinz Field.
It will be built by Dec. 23 and open to the public Dec. 24-Jan. 2. There will be public sessions on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, among others, with a full schedule to be released later.
On Dec. 23, those constructing the rink will turn their attention to the field inside the stadium and will begin work on the rink where the Penguins and Washington Capitals will play in the annual outdoor game Jan. 1.
Among the youth teams that will play at the parking lot rink will be a Pittsburgh Penguins Elite club coached by Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, the Washington Junior Capitals and teams from the hometowns of the Penguins' Crosby (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia) and Malkin (Magnitogorsk, Russia).
Other youth hockey leagues and teams that have games scheduled at the Winter Classic Community Rink at Stage AE are the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL), the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite girls' team, the Pittsburgh ICE inner-city hockey program, the Mighty Penguins sled hockey team, the Steel City Icebergs (special needs hockey) and USA Hockey development programs.
Penguins backup goaltender Brent Johnson is breaking in new blue equipment for the Winter Classic. He also hopes to wear his all-black equipment at some point, but for now he sent it back for some tweaks. He has been breaking the black pads, blocker and glove for several weeks. ... Columbus winger Nikita Filatov is expected to be back in the lineup after being benched for four of the past five games. ... The Blue Jackets are expected to wear their alternate jerseys.
Shelly Anderson: email@example.com .