Penguins Notebook: Injury not an excuse for Talbot
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Max Talbot probably would rather drive nails into his forearms than complain about his surgically repaired left shoulder, but when pressed yesterday, he hinted it is holding him back some.
"You never want to use that as an excuse," the Penguins forward said. "It's tougher than expected, but ..."
Yesterday marked six months from the day he had a torn labrum repaired. He was expected to be out four to six months. He came back Nov. 19, about 41/2 months after the surgery, and has just one goal since.
Against Philadelphia last night at Mellon Arena, Talbot was in the lineup after being scratched the previous game. He was given Wednesday off from practice.
"I don't want to even talk about my shoulder," he said. "It might have been an issue, but you don't want to talk about it because when I'm on the ice I need to be 100 percent."
Talbot doesn't want anyone to cut him any slack because of his shoulder, and that includes him.
"Injury or not, you need to be the player you can be. Lately, I haven't been," he said.
"I'm going in the right direction. The main thing for me is getting better and better. I've never had the best start to the year. I'm looking positively down the road that I can perform how I did [before the surgery] and even better."
Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar missed his fourth game in a row because of a bruised bone in his right leg. He participated in the morning skate but not the pregame warm-up.
He blocked a Brian Rolston shot Dec. 30 in a 2-0 loss at New Jersey.
The Penguins also scratched winger Ruslan Fedotenko. He crashed hard into the net late in a 5-2 win Tuesday against Atlanta. He did not practice Wednesday and left the ice after only 17 minutes yesterday at the morning skate.
Penguins assistant Mike Yeo is back in Pittsburgh but was not behind the bench after having medical tests apparently designed to rule out cardiac problems.
Yeo was attended to by paramedics Saturday after the game at Tampa, Fla., and, the next day, went into a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area hospital. He was released Wednesday.
"In Florida he had a stress test and everything was [clear]," coach Dan Bylsma said. "We're easing him back into his responsibilities."
Yeo was in the team offices yesterday.
"He was happy to be seen, and the guys were definitely happy to see him back at his desk working on video," Bylsma said
Bylsma said he tries to manage his time and that of his assistants because of what he called "the grind" of their jobs.
"Certainly you consider that," he said. "You try to keep that in mind when it comes to taking time off or going to see a kid's hockey game. We try to make sure we don't watch video non-stop because we can do that if we choose."
It used to be that Penguins center Sidney Crosby would practice at nearly every opportunity. He might be a little more selective now, but he still was out for the team's optional morning skate yesterday.
"I thought about it briefly," he said of skipping the skate. "It always depends on how you feel. Sometimes if you play back-to-back games, you feel like you're better off staying off. [Yesterday] I just felt like skating."
The only players who didn't skate were forwards Pascal Dupuis, Bill Guerin, Matt Cooke and Evgeni Malkin.
Philadelphia, which beat Toronto, 5-2, the night before, did not have a morning skate. ... The Flyers scratched forwards Mike Pyorala and Riley Cote.
First Published January 8, 2010 12:00 am