Penguins Notebook: Letestu still sidelined but Asham might return

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The Penguins are not expected to have center Mark Letestu available today when they play the New York Rangers in a nationally televised afternoon game at Consol Energy Center.

Letestu appeared to injure a shoulder Tuesday when he was hit into the boards by Ottawa's Zack Smith late in a 5-1 win. Letestu has not practiced since. Coach Dan Bylsma said Letestu "is not likely" to be ready today or Monday when the Penguins play at Detroit.

His spot between wingers James Neal and Alex Kovalev was again taken by Dustin Jeffrey at practice Saturday at Southpointe.

Letestu's departure from the lineup coincides with the expected return of forward Arron Asham, who has missed the past 20 games because of a concussion.

Asham said he is fine but is leaving things in the hands of Bylsma, who said the Penguins are taking Asham off of injured reserve.

If Asham for some reason isn't in the lineup, the Penguins still have an available forward in winger Eric Godard.

Forward Mike Comrie, who had hip surgery Dec. 29, continues to practice. He won't play against the Rangers or Red Wings but might be cleared to return toward the earlier portion of his projected recovery time. At the time of his surgery, he was expected to miss three to four months.

No ice time for Crosby

Penguins center Sidney Crosby did not skate Saturday, but that apparently was just part of his rehab plan as he recovers from a concussion.

"I'm quite certain he skated [Friday], and [Saturday] was just a workout day off-ice for him," Bylsma said. The rest of the team had a day off Friday.

Today marks a week since Crosby began taking short skates separate from practice. He will miss his 30th game today.

Lundqvist questionable

The Penguins might get a break today. Rangers All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist didn't practice Saturday and is questionable to start because of a stiff neck, the result of getting bowled over Friday by Montreal's Benoit Pouliot late in a 6-3 New York win.

Backup Marty Biron is out because of a broken collarbone, so the Rangers would probably start Chad Johnson, who played in five games last season but none so far this season. Johnson was drafted by the Penguins in the fifth round in 2006 and traded to the Rangers for a fifth-round pick in June 2009.

The win against the Canadiens improved Lundqvist to 30-24-4, making him the first goalie in NHL history to reach 30 victories in each of his first six seasons.

Asked about that accomplishment, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (31-17-7), who has topped 30 wins for the fourth time in five seasons, shrugged and smiled.

"I think I'm more aiming for 35, 40," he said. "I think 40 is a very good season. That's always something I aim for."

Fleury had 37 wins last season, 35 in 2008-09 and 40 in 2006-07. He figures to make eight to 10 more starts this season.

Lundqvist has never had more than 38 wins.

Photo op

Because of a busy schedule at Southpointe, the Penguins couldn't get on the ice to warm up until about 10 minutes before the scheduled start of practice.

Bylsma, ready to go with skates, warmups and whistle, came out early and spent a considerable amount of time signing autographs and posing for photos, mostly for children who were among the packed house of spectators.

A group had traveled from Wilkes-Barre, home of the Penguins' top minor league affiliate and where Bylsma previously coached.


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