Penguins notebook: Medical bulletins finally on upbeat
December 22, 2013 9:36 PM
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Brooks Orpik is tended to by the medical staff on the ice in the first period after an altercation with Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins in the first period during the game at TD Garden on Dec. 7, 2013 in Boston.
By Dave Molinari / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The line to get into the trainer’s room at Consol Energy Center might be shorter soon.
Left winger Tanner Glass, who has missed the past 13 games because of a broken right hand, could be back in the lineup when the Penguins visit Ottawa tonight and defenseman Brooks Orpik, out since Dec. 7 with a concussion, believes he will be ready to play when the Penguins go to Raleigh, N.C. Friday to face the Carolina Hurricanes.
Coach Dan Bylsma characterized Glass as “a possibility” for tonight, and said it will be a “game-time” decision on whether to use him.
What’s more, defenseman Rob Scuderi said Sunday that if a bone scan of his fractured ankle Thursday shows sufficient healing, he could be cleared to resume playing. He was quick to note, however, that he hasn’t had real contact since being injured Oct. 26 in Toronto.
“Skating-wise, it’s fine, but playing the game is a lot different, so maybe the coaches will like for me to have a few practices before putting me in,” Scuderi said. “That’s going to be their call. The first hurdle is just going to be getting permission to do it.”
Glass said he has only about 60 percent of his pre-injury strength in his hand, but believes that is adequate.
“I know it’s going to take a long time to get back to 90 or 100,” he said. “It’s the top hand [when holding his stick] and, when you’re penalty-killing or checking, you’re one-handing your stick a lot. I think you can get by with 60, 65.”
Orpik resumed skating with his teammates Friday and said Sunday that, “I don’t know how much more I’ll get out of sitting out any longer.”
He added, though, that because the likes of Brian Dumoulin and Philip Samuelsson have filled in so capably, there is no reason to get the Penguins’ injured defensemen back into uniform at the earliest opportunity.
“We’ve won six or seven in a row, and these guys are all playing well,” he said. “So I don’t think there’s any rush.”
Ottawa’s identity lost
The Penguins are fairly familiar with Ottawa, perhaps because they seem to run into the Senators in the playoffs nearly every spring.
And most expressed at least a little surprise that Ottawa was anchored in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings before the Sunday games.
“They’re a team that’s looking for their right identity right now,” right winger Pascal Dupuis said. “Goaltending hasn’t been a [strength] for them. It’s tough to win when your goaltending is not hot.”
Zatkoff wins friends, too
Goalie Jeff Zatkoff’s teammates seem genuinely happy that he got a two-year contract Saturday.
Not only because, after a miserable showing in his first NHL start, he has rebounded to play well every time he has been called upon, but because Zatkoff’s outgoing, upbeat nature is a good fit with his co-workers.
“He’s involved in the game, even when he’s not playing,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said.
“He’s involved on the bench, talking to guys. He’s very supportive. He’s helping guys out. In the dressing room, he’s a fun guy to have around.”
Niskanen, though, apparently didn’t want to overdo the kind words about Zatkoff, who didn’t reach the NHL until he was 26.
“He’s not a young rookie,” Niskanen said, smiling. “But, for a rookie, he sure yaps a lot.”
An early arrival
Sidney Crosby’s three-point outburst against Calgary Saturday pushed his career total on home ice to 400.
He got there in 257 games, the same number Bryan Trottier and Jari Kurri needed.
They are tied for the fourth-lowest total in league history, fewer than anyone except Wayne Gretzky (165), Mario Lemieux (200) and Mike Bossy (241).
Washington, Pa., native Riley Barber has been named captain of Team USA for the world junior championships that begin Thursday in Sweden. Barber, a Washington Capitals prospect, plays for Miami University. … Forwards Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Joe Vitale were given “maintenance days” Sunday, Bylsma said, but he indicated all three will be in uniform tonight. … The Senators are giving up 34.2 shots per game, third-highest average in league.
Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com or Twitter @MolinariPG
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