Michalek brothers deal with concussions


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There is a certain, sad symmetry to it all.

Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek , who has missed the past seven games because of a concussion, expects to be back in the lineup Friday when they visit the Ottawa Senators.

His brother Milan , a Senators forward who had dressed for all 31 of his team's games this season and led the NHL with 19 goals before Wednesday night, nearly certainly will not be in uniform against the Penguins.

Because of, you guessed it, a concussion.

Milan Michalek was injured in a collision with teammate Erik Karlsson in the second period of a 3-2 overtime victory Tuesday in Buffalo, N.Y.

"Hopefully, it's not too serious, and he's going to be back soon," Zbynek Michalek said. "He's having a good season. It would be a shame for him to miss a lot of time."

The Senators are listing Michalek as "day-to-day."

Zbynek Michalek sat out the Penguins' past seven games after receiving a blow to the head late in the third period of a 4-3 overtime victory Nov. 26 in Montreal. He made it through practice Wednesday with no apparent problem and clearly is optimistic about being able to play against the Senators.

"As long as I don't have any symptoms and I feel fine ... so far, that's been the case," he said. "If it keeps going like this, I'm hoping to be back in the lineup on Friday."

Penguins centers Jordan Staal and Joe Vitale sat out practice Wednesday, but coach Dan Bylsma said both "should be possibly back" on the ice for the Penguins workout today.

Harrington on Team Canada

Scott Harrington , the Penguins' second-round choice in the June entry draft, earned a spot on Canada's roster for the upcoming world under-20 championships.

Fellow defenseman Joe Morrow , who was selected in the first round, did not make the cut.

Neither decision was a surprise, because Canada coach Dan Hay had made it known that he was particularly interested in defensive defensemen such as Harrington, while Morrow was just one of several candidates trying to land a berth mostly on the basis of their offensive talents.

Forward Dominik Uher , the Penguins' fifth-round pick in 2010, was chosen to play for the Czech Republic.

Some bad leftovers

It seems to have been largely forgotten in the wake of Sidney Crosby 's most recent concussion -- or ailment that presents symptoms strikingly similar to those of a concussion -- but there were some hard feelings the previous time the Penguins and Senators met.

Crosby threw a head-high elbow at Ottawa forward Nick Foligno in a goalmouth scrum, prompting the Penguins to accuse Foligno of making repeated runs at goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Senators general manager Bryan Murray to hint that he might feel compelled to have an enforcer such as Chris Neil or Matt Carkner in uniform for the rematch.

There has not been much of that kind of talk lately, however, and Bylsma said Wednesday that he is "not overly concerned with some of the quotes" that appeared in newspapers in the wake of that game Nov. 25 at Consol Energy Center.

"We're going into Ottawa more concerned with playing our game and getting in the win column than we are about other things," he said. "Possibly with Sidney likely not being in the lineup, maybe there's a different tone or tenor to the game."

Tip-ins

Bylsma said backup goalie Brent Johnson will start in Ottawa. ... The Penguins returned forward Jason Williams and defenseman Alexandre Picard to their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.


First Published December 15, 2011 5:00 AM


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