Penguins Notebook: Guerin's status is unclear

Sore winger misses practice after being struck by puck Tuesday vs. Flyers

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Although top-line winger Bill Guerin did not practice with the Penguins yesterday at Southpointe, he flew with them to Philadelphia afterward and likely will play against the Flyers tonight.

Guerin was hit in a lower extremity by a clearing pass by Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger late in the Penguins' 6-1 win Tuesday night at Mellon Arena.

"He's sore, but we're hoping it's not more than that," coach Dan Bylsma said. "We're hoping [this] morning he'll get on the ice and be fine to go for [tonight].

"I'm preparing like he's going to be playing."

Guerin had a goal in the game and has eight goals and 21 points for the season.

Talbot's progress

Backlash from Max Talbot's offseason shoulder surgery is what prompted Bylsma to make Talbot a healthy scratch Tuesday.

Talbot is fully recovered, but he missed training camp and the first 22 games of the season. He played in 12 games in row after coming back, with one goal and two assists, before sitting out Tuesday.

"I don't think it's fair to expect he's going to be at the level that he was," Bylsma said. "Speaking from similar circumstances, other players, my career, it's difficult getting [to peak performance] in the middle of the season. There are different levels of competition, and training camp is one. It's a huge step to the regular season. And then as the season goes along, it's another step up. And then in the playoffs, it gets ramped up another level."

Bylsma said Talbot, the two-goal hero of the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 7 win against Detroit in June, can still improve his skating, physical play and timing.

"That's what Max has been dealing with," Bylsma said. "He's worked really hard. It's part of the process. He's got to keep getting better at those aspects and keep getting his game to a higher level."

Talbot filled in for Guerin at practice by skating with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. For a time, he played on that line while Kunitz was out with an injury.

During a short interview, Talbot gave mostly one-word answers, saying that, although it's tough sitting out, he understands it's a matter of numbers and wanting enforcer Eric Godard in the lineup against the Flyers.

He watched the game Tuesday from the locker room while working out.

"The guys played hard," he said.

Showboating goalie

The Penguins often end practice with a shootout, which serves a purpose as a drill but also usually provides some fun.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who sometimes gets a little silly, really put on a show with unconventional moves as players bore down on him.

A few times, he did a spin. He stopped defenseman Sergei Gonchar after one of those. Other times, he did a couple of quick pushups.

Once, he turned his back to defenseman Mark Eaton and, looking over his shoulder, still made a stick save.

Tip-ins

Center Jordan Staal, who took a puck to the midsection late in the game Tuesday, practiced. ... The Flyers expect forward Blair Betts to return from a shoulder injury. He hasn't played since Nov. 21. ... Goaltender Michael Leighton, picked up Tuesday by Philadelphia on re-entry waivers from Carolina, is expected to serve as Brian Boucher's backup. ... After playing back-to-back road games Monday and Tuesday, the Flyers had a lightly attended morning skate Tuesday and a sparsely attended practice yesterday. ... Comcast cable-TV customers in the Pittsburgh region will begin getting the NHL Network in high definition today.



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