Penguins Notebook: Cooke skates, but not ready to play
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Penguins winger Matt Cooke participated in the morning skate yesterday but remained out against Toronto last night and called the idea that he might play in Boston tomorrow night "optimistic."
"It's getting better," Cooke said of a rib-area muscle strain that has forced him out of the lineup the past two games.
"Quick movements, reactive movements, are what grabs. Nothing's broken. It's just a strain. I've had the same thing on the other side before. It's one of those things that once you get past the grabbing part ... it just takes time."
He said he skated hard yesterday and is eager to see how it feels today.
Because of some penalty-killing shifts, longer shifts on the top power-play unit and having his shoulder tapped a little more by coach Michel Therrien, Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby is playing more this season.
Going into the game last night, he was averaging 23:54 of ice time, about four minutes more than in his first three seasons in the NHL.
Crosby is finding that manageable.
"Just as long as you keep shifts short, not anything crazy," he said. "Sometimes, you get caught out there for a really long shift, and it can affect your next one or maybe the one after. But just consistently keeping shifts pretty normal length. I'd say that's about it."
He is not feeling any physical effects after games.
"Not to this point," he said. "Maybe ask me in January."
Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson used to coach the San Jose Sharks, and he is bringing some Silicon Valley technology to the Toronto bench.
According to the Toronto Star, Wilson soon will have Tablet PCs mounted on both ends of the bench for home games.
They will be wired to a Sling Box, so the coaching staff can get live streams of things such as video replays and stats.
At Air Canada Centre, the staff also has vast streaming access on laptops and a touch-control Smart Board in the video room.
Therrien is a little leery of such advanced technology.
"I'm not too familiar with those things, honestly," he said.
"Eventually, I will [be], I'm sure."
"It's a fast game to play. It's tough to check the Internet. We only have one timeout."
Toronto defenseman Jeff Finger, signed over the summer as a free agent, hasn't played with the Maple Leafs yet because a shot in practice by Russian rookie Nikolai Kulemin broke Finger's foot.
Finger has begun taking morning skates. He told the Toronto Sun he spent some of his time off taking language lessons.
"I [now] know a couple of swear words in Russian," he said.
Kulemin, a winger, was a linemate of Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin at Metallurg Magnitogorsk and with the Russian national junior team.
Former Penguins goaltender Frank Pietrangelo, known for making "The Save" on New Jersey's Peter Stastny in the first round of the 1991 playoffs, visited the morning skate with the Mississauga, Ontario, Rep AAA Bantam team he coaches. ... The Penguins last night held a "Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night," part of a league-wide initiative this month. ... Winger Bill Thomas, a Fox Chapel native, made his Mellon Arena debut as a Penguins player. Besides Cooke, the team scratched winger Paul Bissonnette and defenseman Darryl Sydor. Besides Finger, Toronto scratched defensemen Ian White and Mike Van Ryn. Winger Ryan Hollweg was not in the lineup due to an NHL suspension.
First Published October 19, 2008 12:00 am