Penguins Notebook: Bylsma dealing with more injuries
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Coach Dan Bylsma was able to paint a clearer picture Thursday of several players who are dealing with injuries.
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek appears to have the worst problem. He will be out an estimated two to four weeks because of what is believed to be a right shoulder injury he got Monday when he was driven into the boards by New Jersey's Rod Pelley.
It could have been worse; two years ago, the Penguins sweated out the diagnosis process for defenseman Sergei Gonchar after a similar incident, only to have him need surgery and miss the first four-plus months of the season.
"With a situation where you have to wait to have your muscles calm down to even get evaluated, you could be anywhere," Bylsma said of Michalek, "so it's relatively good news in terms of the length of time and what he's dealing with."
Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who sat out the past two games because of a groin strain, did not practice but still is considered day to day.
Two others skated before practice. Winger Arron Asham has been upgraded from being out indefinitely with what is believed to be a left shoulder injury to being out about another two weeks. Center Jordan Staal continues to skate as he comes back from a stubborn foot infection.
Team captain Sidney Crosby and fellow forward Max Talbot were excused from practice to rest, but both are expected to be available to play tonight against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.
Mike Comrie isn't among those who are injured, but he wasn't in the lineup Wednesday against Toronto.
He was philosophical about going from being a top-six forward to being a healthy scratch after he and his linemates -- who have included Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- have failed to convert some scoring chances.
"It's part of the game," Comrie said. "We've all got to work harder. We've got to compete. It's early in the season. Guys are moving around, different lines, different combinations.
"There's a lot of capable players in here, and the minute you get a chance to be on the ice, you've got to make a difference."
Comrie, who had a strong preseason, has no points and a minus-1 plus-minus rating in his three regular-season games.
"Mike is a guy who adds offensive ability and can play in different spots," Bylsma said. "He did do that to some degree. He could have three points right now if we hit an open net or it doesn't clang off the post for a guy he passes the puck to."
Still, Bylsma said, Comrie did not meet expectations as far as "puck battles in both ends of the rink, being hard on the puck and being able to make those plays. ... He's got to be able to do that and be those things for our power play, for his line in both ends of the rink. He got scratched, but he'll get another opportunity to get back in there and do that for our team."
The Penguins for the first time this season will wear their blue alternate jersey tonight.
They also will wear that third jersey Oct. 20 at Carolina, Nov. 17 against Vancouver, Nov. 27 against Calgary, Dec. 6 against New Jersey, Dec. 26 at Ottawa, Jan. 8 against Minnesota, Jan. 22 against Carolina, Feb. 23 against San Jose and March 27 against Florida.
Later this month, the Penguins will unveil a new alternate jersey that they will wear for the first time in the Jan. 1 outdoor Winter Classic against Washington at Heinz Field. They also will wear that jersey Feb. 10 against Los Angeles and March 12 against Montreal.
First Published October 15, 2010 12:00 am