Penguins Notebook: Eaton expected to miss week
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It looks as if Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton will miss at least a couple more games.
Coach Dan Bylsma said yesterday that while the full extent of Eaton's injury is not known yet, the best projection is that he will miss about a week.
"[We need to] wait and see how he responds to treatment, but it's not a serious injury," Bylsma said. "It's going to be a week or so."
The Penguins are not disclosing the nature of Eaton's injury. He had his left knee iced yesterday. He did not practice with the team at Mellon Arena.
Eaton got hurt Saturday night when he and Mike Grier of the Buffalo Sabres got tangled and went into the boards behind the Buffalo net during the second period of a 2-1 Penguins shootout win. As Eaton fell, his left leg bent underneath his body.
He missed Monday's 4-0 loss to New Jersey.
Jordan Staal admitted he was a little worried after he got hit in the face with a puck in the second period Monday because of the extent of the pain and bleeding.
"I felt like my nose was off. It wasn't a good feeling," the big Penguins center said. "I knew it hurt. That was about it. I knew it was my nose. I was happy it didn't hit my eye."
Staal returned for the third period with a full-face shield attached to his helmet. It was still there when he practiced yesterday. He said after the injury heals he might consider using one of the half-visors popular with players. He normally uses no face protection.
His swollen nose isn't broken, but the cut required five stitches and medical glue. It is shaped like an upside-down horseshoe, running across the bridge of his nose and down toward each nostril.
"It's certainly not a pretty injury, but I don't think there was any question once we found out that it was only superficial that he was going to come back out there," said Bylsma, who offered a somewhat graphic description of what Staal endured to return to the game.
"It's a tough way to play when you've got a nose issue and you're kind of leaking both probably internally in your sinuses and externally out of your nose," the coach said. "It's a bit gruesome ... but he's a hockey player getting back out there with an injury."
Center and captain Sidney Crosby said the team appreciated how Staal got back into the game.
"That's pretty gutsy," he said. "As players, we were really happy to see him come back.
"We weren't really sure where the puck had gotten him when he first went down. He looked to be in a lot of pain. He's a tough guy. He's got three brothers who probably have done worse than that."
When you're winning more than twice as much as you're losing, as the 25-11-1 Penguins are, each defeat tends to stand out.
That is probably especially true with the Penguins after their third loss to New Jersey in as many tries, all at home, by a combined score of 12-2.
Yet Crosby and Bylsma aren't concerned about a residual effect tonight when Ottawa visits Mellon Arena. Crosby said the team already showed a good response by coming back from a poor second period against the Devils and then going hard for more than an hour yesterday.
"I liked our third period," Crosby said. "It would have been easy to go out there and not play the way we're supposed to and give in. I don't think guys did that. They played hard the whole third period.
"I think it carried over. We had a good practice. We know we, for whatever reason, had a bit of a lull in the second period and that was the difference in the game, but guys came to work here [yesterday] and we'll try to rebound [tonight]."
The Penguins had a four-game losing streak in November during a spate of injuries but otherwise have not lost twice in a row in regulation this season.
"If you look at us this year in particular, we've had some losses where we've had to respond different times," Bylsma said. "We've done that."
The Senators expect No. 1 goaltender Pascal Leclaire (broken cheekbone) and rugged forward Chris Neil (left knee) to return from injury tonight.
First Published December 23, 2009 12:00 am