Penguins Notebook: Eaton gets back on skates
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Defenseman Mark Eaton, who had his right knee reconstructed several months ago, went through his first on-ice workout yesterday, putting in a session with conditioning coach Mike Kadar before the Penguins' game-day skate at Mellon Arena.
Eaton hasn't ruled out trying to play again this season if the Penguins' playoff run lasts long enough, but has a lot of work -- both to recover from his surgery and to upgrade his conditioning -- to do before a comeback moves beyond the theoretical stage.
He didn't offer a formal assessment of his workout, but, when a locker-room visitor asked how he felt, Eaton responded, "First day, you can't expect too much. The knee felt good. The lungs hurt."
Eaton, who was injured when Boston forward Marco Sturm knocked his legs out from under him Dec. 23, was the only Penguin to sit out Game 2 because of a medical issue.
Their healthy scratches for Game 2 of their opening-round playoff series against Ottawa were forwards Jeff Taffe, Adam Hall and Kris Beech, defenseman Darryl Sydor and goalie Dany Sabourin, the same group that sat out Game 1.
Playoff T-shirts for players and staff are becoming a rite of spring for the Penguins, and the theme this year -- "Sacrifice" -- is pretty hard to miss.
After all, it's printed on the back of the shirt in five (actually, six) languages.
They are English, Russian, French, Finnish and Czech/Slovak. Not coincidentally, those are the native tongues of everyone on their current NHL roster.
Equipment manager Dana Heinze said the theme of the shirts is selected by the coaching staff.
Sidney Crosby figures to accomplish a lot of things in his NHL career.
Breaking teammate Gary Roberts' record for being the oldest player to record a multiple-goal game in the playoffs likely won't be one of them.
Not based on Crosby's response yesterday, when asked if he expects to be capable of such feats when he reaches Roberts' age (41 years, 10-plus months).
"I don't think I will be," Crosby said. "I really don't know how he does it. If there's anyone who would have a record or accomplish something like that, it would be him."
Numerous teammates have volunteered during the past year or so that Roberts' fabled commitment to conditioning is contagious.
"It's amazing," Crosby said. "For a lot of people, I'm sure it's surprising, but we see him every day, see what he does.
"It's no fluke why he's still successful and why he's battling the way he is. He's passionate. He cares. He takes care of himself. This is what he wants to do."
Dennis Bonvie, the all-time penalty-minutes leader in professional hockey -- 4,799 minutes, and counting -- will make his final regular-season appearance for the Penguins' American Hockey League minor-league team tonight in Wilkes-Barre.
Bonvie is the most popular player in Baby Penguins history -- he might be the five most popular players in Baby Penguins history -- and has been honored recently in AHL arenas where he wasn't exactly regarded as a fan favorite (unless he happened to be on the local club's payroll at the time).
Hershey had a pregame ceremony for him Sunday, he was named the third star of the game (for no apparent reason) in Philadelphia after the Baby Penguins' most recent visit, and Bridgeport honored Bonvie as the fourth star when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was last there.
AHL president Dave Andrews will attend the game tonight against Norfolk at Wachovia Arena, and the Baby Penguins and their sponsors plan to present Bonvie with a variety of gifts.
Bonvie, who picked up 4,488 of his penalty minutes in the AHL, also played 92 games in the NHL. That total includes 31 with the Penguins in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 and 12 with Ottawa in 2002-03.
Right winger Georges Laraque has been nominated by his teammates as the Penguins' candidate for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player who "best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a contribution in his community."
Laraque, who has a history of community involvement wherever he has played, has worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and the Hockey in the Hood inner-city hockey program, among other projects, since being acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline in 2007.
First Published April 12, 2008 12:00 am