Penguins Notebook: Injured Asham unlikely to play tonight

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SUNRISE, Fla. -- The latest injured Penguins player is forward Arron Asham, who did not take the pregame warm-up or play Thursday at Tampa Bay and did not practice Friday at BankAtlantic Center.

Asham, limping noticeably after participating in the morning skate Thursday, has what coach Dan Bylsma called a minor injury. He remained with the club on their trip, but it seems unlikely he will be in the lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers.

The Penguins are carrying 14 active forwards. Mike Comrie played Thursday, and Eric Godard has routinely been a healthy scratch.

Crosby skates with team

Although there remains no timetable for center Sidney Crosby's return from a concussion, he has been on the ice with his teammates the past two days and is expected to take part in the morning skate today.

Bylsma said he hasn't allowed himself to daydream about Crosby and his offensive production being back in the lineup, but he has enjoyed watching him on the ice.

"It's great to see him out with his teammates," Bylsma said.

"It's great to see him in those drills, flying around, and you can see that Sidney Crosby is Sidney Crosby.

"I do enjoy the speed at which he practices. It's a challenge to keep up with his pace."

Jokes is on Neal

It wouldn't be April 1 in an NHL locker room without a gag or two.

One that made it out of the room was the rudimentary drawing a fish, cut to shape, someone taped to the back of winger James Neal's practice jersey, which harkens to a traditional French joke. He went the whole session like that, only seeing the prank as he pulled the jersey off.

Bylsma thought the comic relief was good for the team.

"We know we're four games, five games away from the playoffs and we still have hockey to play and be focused for, and we still have home ice to try to win," he said.

"It wasn't bad to see an April Fool's joke out there. I was just surprised it took [Neal] so long to figure out something was going on."


Winger Pascal Dupuis skated for a few minutes without gear before the practice, then retreated to the locker room and did not go out with the rest of the team. Bylsma called it "a maintenance day," meaning Dupuis is expected to be available tonight. ... Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who left from the Penguins' 2-1 shootout win at Consol Energy Center between regulation and overtime Sunday, continues to have back problems. Backup Scott Clemmensen could start tonight.

Shelly Anderson: or 412-263-1721.


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