Bylsma says Letang is 'feeling better,' but ...
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Kris Letang still hasn't been diagnosed with a concussion.
Perhaps, he never will be.
But a week after absorbing a wicked hit from Dallas winger Eric Nystrom in the Penguins 4-3 shootout victory at American Airlines Arena, Letang still is suffering from symptoms often associated with one.
That is why he will sit out his third consecutive game when Toronto visits Consol Energy Center tonight, and why there is no target date for him to resume playing.
"While he is feeling better, he still has some symptoms," coach Dan Bylsma said.
Letang, one of eight players to sit out the Penguins practice Tuesday, went through what Bylsma described as a "light" off-ice workout.
Letang missed 21 games earlier this season because of a concussion caused by a blindside hit from Max Pacioretty of Montreal.
Center Sidney Crosby, who did not play for more than 10 months after getting a concussion last Jan. 1, said he tries to inquire about Letang's condition without being intrusive.
"I talk to him pretty much every day," Crosby said. "I'm sure he's tired of me asking him how he feels. [I'm] just trying to be there, supportive. I know what he's going through."
Defenseman Deryk Engelland, who did not play in the Penguins 2-1 victory against Phoenix Monday because of an unspecified injury, sat out practice. So did forward Dustin Jeffrey, who missed the Coyotes game because of illness.
Centers Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin, winger Steve Sullivan, defenseman Brooks Orpik and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury were given "maintenance days" and excused from practice, while goalie Brent Johnson went through a full workout for the first time since sustaining an undisclosed injury last month.
"[Johnson] is still rehabbing," Bylsma said. "But that does include practice."
Winger James Neal already has scored a career-high 30 goals, but is stuck in his worst drought of the season.
He does not have a goal in seven games, which surpasses the six-game dry spell he endured Dec. 29-Jan. 11.
Coincidentally or otherwise, Neal has not scored since Feb. 18, the day before his six-year, $30 million contract extension was announced.
Neal has three goals in the past 16 games and has not scored on the power play since Jan. 24. He has, however, contributed six assists during the past seven games.
New Toronto coach Randy Carlyle is one of three former Penguins players now serving as head coaches in the NHL -- Randy Cunneyworth (Montreal) and Dave Tippett (Phoenix) are the others -- and has a couple of distinctions unmatched in franchise history.
He not only is the Penguins' only Norris Trophy winner, but is their only captain who has gone on to be a head coach at this level.
Carlyle succeeded Orest Kindrachuk as captain in 1981 and wore the "C" until March 5, '84, when he was traded to Winnipeg for defenseman Moe Mantha and a first-round draft choice that was used to select defenseman Doug Bodger.
Carlyle's final season as captain was the worst in franchise history as the Penguins went 16-58-6 to end up with the worst record in the NHL -- and the right to draft Mario Lemieux a few months later.
Three players on the Penguins' major league roster -- goalie Brad Thiessen, left winger Eric Tangradi and defenseman Brian Strait -- also appear on the Clear Day roster of their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.
Only players in that 22-man group can participate in the rest of the AHL's regular season or the Calder Cup playoffs, unless a recall, injury or suspension creates an emergency condition. AHL teams also can add signed draft choices or sign players to amateur tryout contracts, provided their junior or college seasons are over.
The Baby Penguins' Clear Day list:
Goalies -- Scott Munroe, Brad Thiessen,
Defensemen -- Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Alex Grant, Joey Mormina, Alexandre Picard, Carl Sneep, Brian Strait.
Forwards -- Ryan Craig, Brandon DeFazio, Brian Gibbons, Bryan Lerg, Colin McDonald, Cal O'Reilly, Nick Petersen, Zach Sill, Ben Street, Eric Tangradi, Paul Thompson, Geoff Walker, Jason Williams.
Players in residence -- G Brad Fogal, G Patrick Killeen, F Steve MacIntyre, F Matt Rust, D Philip Samuelsson, D Cody Wild.
Center Evgeni Malkin, who owns an eight-game scoring streak, needs one point for 500 in the NHL. That also will tie him with Syl Apps for eighth place on the franchise's all-time points list. ... A statue of Lemieux is scheduled to be unveiled at Consol Energy Center at noon today. The event is open to the public.
First Published March 7, 2012 12:00 am