Penguins Notebook: Trade deadline prices too high for GM Shero

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General manager Ray Shero had his ear to the tracks, but by the time Monday's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline arrived, no rumblings swayed him -- partly because he already was happy with the Penguins as constructed.

"The prices were somewhat high, but there really wasn't someone that was a good fit for us," Shero said. "We wanted to stay with our group. Our trade deadline, as we know, was a week or so ago."

The Penguins last week acquired wingers James Neal and Alex Kovalev and defenseman Matt Niskanen in two trades.

Shero has said he was not looking to trade away a first- or second-round draft pick, and after shipping out defenseman Alex Goligoski and a conditional seventh-round draft pick in the deals last week, he wasn't keen on giving up any other roster players.

Missing players

The Penguins had a lot of players missing from practice at Consol Energy Center, including wingers Chris Kunitz and Tyler Kennedy.

Kunitz, who hasn't played since Feb. 6 because of an undisclosed injury and had a rigorous on-ice workout on his own Sunday, previously seemed close to returning, but coach Dan Bylsma said Kunitz "still is not ready to progress back to a full practice."

Kennedy, who was a late scratch Saturday at Toronto because of what is believed to be a leg or knee problem, is day to day, Bylsma said.

Backup goaltender Brent Johnson has an undisclosed nagging injury, but Bylsma expects Johnson to return to practice today.

The most interesting story among those who missed practice belonged to Kovalev.

He wandered into the locker room -- his first time on the home side at the new arena -- just as his teammates were finishing practice, and took some teasing.

Kovalev had returned to Ottawa after the game Saturday in Toronto to get some things, and his flight to Pittsburgh got canceled because of bad weather.

Martin close to returning

Defenseman Paul Martin practiced and could return Wednesday at Toronto after missing the past four games because of an unspecified injury.

"[It] was the first day banging around a little bit," Martin said. "It felt good. We'll see how it responds [today], and hopefully [I'll play] Wednesday.

"It's still a little weak. I'm not concerned about the injury. It's not going to get any worse. It's just a strength thing that needs to get back."

Jeffrey safe ... for now

One beneficiary to a quiet day for the Penguins is center Dustin Jeffrey, who has been shuffled several times between the Penguins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and was one of three players reassigned Sunday to the American Hockey League team.

"I would anticipate Dustin being here for the rest of the year. He'll be a guy who's called up," Shero said. "Guys like him and [rookie center] Mark Letestu, this is going to be a great opportunity for them to gain experience and perform for us."

Jeffrey has five goals, 15 points in 15 games, but his spot on the roster could have been wiped out if the Penguins had acquired another forward or two.

If Kennedy can't play Wednesday, the Penguins would only have 11 forwards available and presumably would recall someone in addition to Jeffrey.

Tip-ins

Shero downplayed speculation surrounding left wing prospect Eric Tangradi. "I can say Eric Tangradi's never been offered in a trade." ... Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Crosby's so-called golden goal. He scored in overtime for Canada to secure the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, beating United States goaltender Ryan Miller for a 3-2 win that still echoes around Canada. ... Penguins video coordinator Jim Britt filled in for Johnson at practice.


For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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