Penguins notebook: Vokoun's chance to return seems unlikely


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Of all the injury news coming Saturday from the Penguins -- and like a lot of days this season, there was quite a bit -- perhaps the most intriguing involved goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

Vokoun had a surgical procedure to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis in training camp and in late September was put on a regimen of blood-thinners.

He was to be re-evaluated after three months to see if doctors might take him off of the medication, which precludes Vokoun from facing shots or being hit.

"He has passed the three-month [time]," coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's still seeing the doctor regularly and is still on blood-thinners."

That means the window for a best-case scenario for Vokoun has closed. He is living with his family in Florida and said in a Penguins game there in late November that if he was not cleared to quit the medication at the three-month mark and it stretched out to what would seem to be the maximum of six months, he doubted he could reach reasonable game sharpness to be ready for the playoffs.

The Penguins have gotten solid backup goaltending from rookie Jeff Zatkoff, and there has been speculation that Vokoun, 37, might retire.

Through a spokesperson, Penguins general manager Ray Shero said there was no set time frame for further Vokoun news.

Letang, Malkin practice

Injured defenseman Kris Letang and injured center Evgeni Malkin practiced with the Penguins and could return today when Winnipeg visits Consol Energy Center.

Letang, who has dealt with an elbow infection, skated with projected defense partner Rob Scuderi and on the top power play at practice. Malkin, who has a left leg injury, did not practice with a set line but worked with the first and second power-play units.

Letang said his inclusion in the lineup is a "coaches' decision. Not my call. I told them I felt good."

Meanwhile, there was a new name added to the injury list. Winger Chuck Kobasew is day-to-day because of an undisclosed injury. He participated in a game-day skate Friday but not in the pregame warm-up and was a scratch for a game against the New York Rangers.

Defenseman Paul Martin skated in full gear Saturday after practice, his first time on the ice since Nov. 25 when his leg was broken. Bylsma said results of a bone scan were good enough to allow Martin to begin skating.

Martin was joined on the ice by winger Jayson Megna (leg injury).

Winger Chris Conner, who got hurt Tuesday in New Jersey, had surgery for a hand injury. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Letang, Coffey chat

If there was one upside to sitting out a 5-2 win Friday against the Rangers, Letang found it.

He spent time with Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey, who won three Stanley Cup titles with Edmonton and another with the Penguins.

"It was fun to have a chance to talk to him and to see how he sees the game, what his perception of the NHL is now," said Letang, who posted a picture of the two of them on Instagram.

"Just to have a chance to talk to him and hang out with him, it was pretty special."

Coffey was in town as one of several former NHL players participating in the Mario Lemieux fantasy camp.

Letang was reluctant to divulge the specific advice or insight he got from Coffey.

"It's all hockey stuff," Letang said. "It's nothing that [non-players] can relate to."

No. 600 for Scuderi

Scuderi is expected to play in the 600th game of his career today.

"I guess for me it's not really counting the games, but what you do with them," said Scuderi, a staunch defensive defenseman. "It's great. Six-hundred games, I guess I never thought I would make it that long."

Scuderi, 35, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Penguins in 1998. He was on their 2009 Stanley Cup team before signing as a free agent with Los Angeles. He played 285 games with the Kings and won another Cup before re-signing with his original club in the summer.

Scuderi is the fourth Penguins player this season to reach 600 career games. The others were Martin and forwards Chris Kunitz and Jussi Jokinen.


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