Penguins Notebook: Lovejoy, Michalek may be close to playing
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Penguins defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Zbynek Michalek returned to practice Monday and could be close to playing.
Centers Jordan Staal and Craig Adams did not skate, but they could be ready to go as soon as tonight's game against Chicago at Consol Energy Center. The Blackhawks led the NHL with 46 points going into Monday's schedule.
Staal, who has missed the past two games and three of the past four, and Adams, who left Saturday's 8-3 win against Buffalo in the second period, are expected to participate in today's morning skate and are day to day, coach Dan Bylsma said. Their injuries have not been disclosed.
Lovejoy, who has missed the past 18 games because of a broken left wrist, is anxious to play despite just returning to practice Monday.
"My arm feels good," he said. "I think I'm ready to play. I'm out there battling. My strength is back. I'm going to have it taped for a while, but I've been skating for five weeks. I'm in shape and ready to go."
Bylsma said Lovejoy will need "minimal" time in practices before he can play.
Michalek, who has missed nine games, was reluctant to discuss his chances of playing tonight -- not because he is experiencing more concussion symptoms, but out of superstition.
He had hoped to play Friday and/or Saturday, but his symptoms flared.
"I said it last week that I felt better, and it kind of went the other way," he said. "I don't want to jinx it again. I'm feeling good right now, but you never know.
"I just want to be careful about it."
Forward Dustin Jeffrey , who had a setback after spring knee surgery, has ramped up his rehabilitation and could start skating soon, Bylsma said.
Bylsma said he had no updates on forwards Sidney Crosby (concussion symptoms) and Richard Park (broken foot), and defensemen Paul Martin (undisclosed), Kris Letang (concussion) and Robert Bortuzzo (concussion).
Kevin Stevens , one of the premier power forwards of the 1990s, recently left his position as a pro scout with the Penguins, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, a team spokesman confirmed.
He coaches youth hockey, including a traveling team, in the Boston area.
Stevens, an outgoing type who was on the Penguins' first two Stanley Cup teams, remains in great standing with the club and intends to continue to attend alumni events, the spokesman said.
He had 329 goals, 726 points in 874 NHL games.
Bylsma watched Chicago's 4-2 win against Calgary Sunday, a game that marked coach Joel Quenneville 's 600th win in the NHL.
Bylsma and Quenneville have something in common -- each has won a Stanley Cup. But Quenneville, 53, who is with his third team as a head coach dating to 1996, has quite a bit of a lead on Bylsma, 41, in wins.
"It's an amazing number," said Bylsma, who is 132-67-23 after eclipsing 200 games earlier this season.
"That's longevity, a long career. I'll look for 200 wins before I think about 600. That's an amazing career.
"I might have white hair [too] when I get to 600."
Quenneville, who will be coaching his 1,115th game tonight, is the 10th coach to reach 600 wins and the second fastest after former Penguins coach Scott Bowman , now a senior adviser for Chicago.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was named the NHL's third star of the week. He had five goals, three assists in three games. ... Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery has won five starts in a row and has a .936 save percentage over those five games. ... Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was tied for the NHL lead with 89 blocked shots before Monday's games.
First Published December 20, 2011 12:00 am