Penguins Notebook: Giddy Talbot resumes practice
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LOS ANGELES -- Forward Max Talbot stepped from the visiting players' runway to the bench at a nearly empty Staples Center yesterday about 20 minutes before the Penguins were scheduled to practice. In full gear, including a red, non-contact jersey, and with a stick in each hand, he got animated.
He whooped. He jumped around. When teammate Evgeni Malkin wandered out to check out the fuss, Talbot kissed Malkin on the cheek.
Apparently, Talbot was thrilled to get the medical clearance to return to the ice.
"Ya think?" he said after skating on his own, then staying out for practice with his teammates.
Talbot was practicing with his teammates as he rehabilitated following offseason left shoulder surgery, but got pulled off the ice after he got hit with a shot on his foot.
"It was great to go on the ice before, and then I had to stop for two weeks," Talbot said. "Now I'm back. It's a big step. It's good news."
Although Saturday will mark four months into a recovery time listed at four to six months, Talbot is not on the verge of being able to play.
"There's still some time in front of me," he said. "I'm not a week away."
He said the foot injury simply forced him to work out off the ice and didn't push back his return.
When he does come back, he expects to be strong, fit and free from the nagging problem caused by a torn labrum in his shoulder.
"I almost feel like new," Talbot said.
Malkin is the only player not skating. He was benched a week ago so that his strained right (non-shooting) shoulder can heal. Coach Dan Bylsma said at the time the team wanted him to take "a couple weeks" off.
There is no word on when Malkin might resume practicing, but, after seeing Talbot's enthusiasm yesterday, Malkin went onto the ice in warmups and athletic shoes for the early minutes of practice. Staying along the boards, he smiled, laughed and passed pucks to his teammates.
It turns out the Penguins have not tied a record for most road wins at the beginning of the season.
The NHL's 2009-10 Official Guide and Record Book listed 7-0 as the best away start in league history, but that overlooks the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres, who won their first 10 road games.
The Penguins are 7-0 away from Mellon Arena and will need to sweep the final three games of this road trip -- at Los Angeles tonight, at San Jose Saturday night and at Boston Tuesday night -- to tie the mark.
The Penguins had the option of skating or working out off the ice. Four players -- the top line of Sidney Crosby, Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz, plus defenseman Brooks Orpik -- did not practice.
"Got the whole line resting," Crosby said.
First Published November 5, 2009 12:00 am