Day off designed to help bumps, bruises heal for some forwards
December 7, 2011 10:00 AM
Sidney Crosby bends over in pain on the bench in the third period Monday after colliding with teammate Chris Kunitz. Crosby returned to the game against the Bruins, but was given a maintenance day at practice Tuesday. He is expected to practice today.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Penguins mustered only 17 players at practice Tuesday. The reasons for the absences were assorted.
Four forwards --
-- were given maintenance days for what coach
called "bumps and bruises." Bylsma indicated they are expected to return to practice today.
Crosby favored his right knee and seemed to be in pain for several minutes after he collided with linemate
in the 3-1 loss Monday night against Boston. He returned to the game and afterward said he was OK.
remain out because of concussions, and defenseman
is day to day because of an unspecified injury.
Bylsma offered updates on four other players:
, who missed the Boston game, is day to day. The Penguins have not specified his injury, but he favored his right leg after blocking a shot Saturday.
has had a setback with his surgically repaired right knee. He had stopped playing and skating to focus on rehabilitation, but Bylsma said swelling in the knee has prompted him to step back from rehab, too.
Jeffrey missed the first eight games of the season, played in six games, with no points, and has missed the past 14.
(broken left wrist) and
(hyperextended left elbow) have resumed skating and could be back in two to four weeks.
"They have progressed real well," Bylsma said, adding that pain tolerance is dictating how much they can do.
For kids' sake
The Penguins held their annual kids open practice at Consol Energy Center, skating in front of about 8,000 raucous students.
Even though Crosby, perhaps the biggest fan favorite, did not practice, he made an appearance.
Dressed in a warmup suit, Crosby joined broadcasters
on the Penguins bench and took the microphone to speak to the children.
News of the NHL's realignment plan for 2012-13 broke Monday night just as the Penguins loss against Boston ended. The players had had some time to digest it by Tuesday.
Under a four-conference setup, the Penguins will remain with their Northeast Division foes, plus Washington and Carolina. Those teams will play each other six times a season.
All teams will play each non-conference team at home and on the road every season.
"I think there's more balance in the schedule," winger
said. "Playing most of my career in the west, we found that the travel was extreme compared to the east. On a personal note, going to every city is important. Most guys want to see every city. We owe it to the fans to be able to see all the players across the league."
What the Penguins are not sure about is what the NHL should call its four conferences.
"I think probably the best thing would be simple names by region," center
said. "I think you shouldn't go too dramatic."
Sullivan is open to the idea of naming them after people.
"I think recognizing certain players that have made extreme contributions to the game is a great idea," he said.
"Now, who those players are would be [tough]. They would be a little bit biased here with [Penguins owner and Hall of Famer]
. I'm sure
[would get support].
"There's a lot of them. Who are you going to snub by only naming four people?"
said he likes the new format under any name. But just for fun, he offered a twist on geographic titles. "Maybe Warm, Cold, Rainy ..."
All-Star voting update
Crosby has moved to second among forwards in All-Star Game fan balloting, with 320,865 votes.
of Toronto leads with 384,029.
is third among forwards,
is third among defensemen,
third among goaltenders.