Penguins Notebook: No target for Leopold's return


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Penguins defenseman Jordan Leopold, who missed the final four games of their opening-round playoff series against Ottawa because of a concussion, does not have a timetable for returning to the lineup.

Coach Dan Bylsma said he has no target date for Leopold's return, either.

Both agree, however, that he took a step toward making that happen by participating in the Penguins' practice Wednesday at Mellon Arena. It was the first time he has worked out with the team since Ottawa Senators defenseman Andy Sutton dropped him with a crushing hit April 16.

"To be back with my teammates is a good feeling, but I've still got some progress to be made," he said.

Leopold declined to say how many concussions he has sustained in his career -- "I do [know], but I'm not going to advertise it," he said -- or to offer an opinion on whether he believed Sutton's hit was clean.

"What's done is done," he said. "You just leave it in the past."

Sutton was neither penalized nor suspended, and Leopold characterized the damage done by Sutton as "relatively mild," but acknowledged that he appeared to be seriously injured when it happened.

"You look back at the hit, it wasn't pretty," he said.

Leopold said, "it's my call" about when he will be able to get back into a game and made it clear that he will not consider playing until he is convinced he is completely recovered.

"You have to make sure you're 100 percent healthy before you get out there in a contact game," he said. "It's not fun watching, but I've been through this before. It's a day-by-day progression, really. You know, as a person, when you feel right and when you don't."

While Leopold got back on the ice Wednesday, injured wingers Chris Kunitz and Tyler Kennedy did not. Both are listed as "day to day."

Return of the parents

Evgeni Malkin's parents, Vladimir and Natalia, and his brother, Denis, were scheduled to arrive here last night for an extended visit.

"It's good," Malkin said. "They support me. My mother cooks. I like them [being] here."

This will be his brother's first visit since Malkin's rookie season, but his parents frequently attend playoff games and have developed something of a cult following because they often are shown interacting with fans on TV broadcasts and the arena scoreboard.

"It's different for them," Malkin said. "At first, they didn't know [what the attention]. My mother was a little bit nervous. But they like it."

Cooke's shot right on target

Third-line left winger Matt Cooke was the NHL's most-accurate shooter in Round 1, scoring on three of seven shots.

His conversion rate of 42.9 percent put him slightly ahead of Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, who scored on four of his 10 shots against New Jersey. Cooke got two of his goals in Game 6 against the Senators, both on backhanders from near the crease.

"I think I shot the puck maybe a maximum of six feet and didn't have to beat a goalie either time," he said.

Roster is full

The Penguins filled out their playoff taxi squad by recalling seven players from their team in Wilkes-Barre. Forwards Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey, Tim Wallace, Mark Letestu and Nick Johnson, defenseman Steve Wagner and goalie John Curry were brought up, and join winger Chris Conner, defensemen Deryk Engelland and Ben Lovejoy and goalie Brad Thiessen -- who were summoned from the Baby Penguins in the Ottawa series.


For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com . Ray Fittipaldo also contributed to this report.


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