Penguins notebook: Time frame for injured unchanged



Coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday had some minor updates on a couple of Penguins who are out with long-term injuries.

Defenseman Rob Scuderi had surgery for a broken left ankle Oct. 30.

“He’s just rehabbing at a moderate rate right now,” Bylsma said. “Hopefully, in the next seven days or so, he’ll move to a little more rehab.”

Bylsma said Scuderi’s original recovery time frame of six to eight weeks has not changed to this point. That would have him on pace to return to the lineup the second half of December.

Forward Chuck Kobasew, who has a left foot or ankle injury, “has skated now three times on his own and is so far doing well,” Bylsma said. “In the next few days he will hopefully progress to getting back on the ice with the team.”

Scuderi has missed 12 games, Kobasew 11.

Bylsma had no update on when goaltender Tomas Vokoun might be allowed to discontinue taking blood-thinners, his treatment after September surgery to dissolve a blood clot.

“I know he’s seen some doctors, but nothing really other than the [original] three-month” time frame, Bylsma said.

Sparse attendance

Coming off of a strong game in a 4-0 win Wednesday at Washington, the Penguins held an optional practice at Southpointe.

How optional? There were as many coaches as players.

Those who skated were forwards Zach Sill, Brian Gibbons and Matt D’Agostini, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. Gibbons is the only one of that group who played Wednesday.

They were on the ice with Bylsma and coaches Tony Granato, Todd Reirden, Mike Bales and Mike Kadar.

Injured Islanders

Against the New York Islanders, who visit Consol Energy Center tonight, the Penguins might not have to face goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

Nabokov has good career numbers against the Penguins — 11-6 with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage — but he has been out since a groin injury Saturday.

However, the Islanders could have winger Thomas Vanek back.

Vanek, who has 12 points in 19 games, has missed the past five games because of an undisclosed injury.

Crosby magic

Sidney Crosby’s power-play goal in the final minute of the second period Wednesday impressed Bylsma on a few levels.

For one, Crosby dropped to one knee and picked a small opening from a fairly sharp angle near the bottom of the left circle. His being a left-handed shot added another degree of difficulty.

“I think I heard a commentator say there were five or six guys in the world who can finish it off like that,” Bylsma said. “I’d like to see the other five.”

For another, the Penguins showed precision and stealth in setting up the play.

Crosby seemed not to attract attention as he moved from the right half-wall to the left circle. Meanwhile, his teammates were passing the puck, tic-tac-toe style, from Evgeni Malkin on the right side to Chris Kunitz in the slot to James Neal, who sent a pass diagonally through the crease from down low to Crosby.

“I don’t know if you can scout that and defend that with the way they move and the movement away from the puck,” Bylsma said.

Crosby also had an assist against the Capitals to take the NHL scoring lead with 28 points in 22 games before Thursday’s schedule.

Crosby has 84 points (26 goals, 58 assists, 1.45 points a game) since the start of last season, tops in the league in that span despite the fact that he missed the final 12 games last season because of surgery for a broken jaw.

Bylsma noted that one of Kunitz’s four goals in a game last season at Washington was similar to Crosby’s and was part of a pregame video session Wednesday.

“This one [by Crosby] was probably a little more precise than that one,” Bylsma said.


Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.

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