Penguins Notebook -- Nasreddine's return adds strength to aching defense
Penguins goalie Dany Sabourin, bottom, holds his head after a collision with the Maple Leafs' Darcy Tucker, center, as Brooks Orpik looks on in the first period Saturday in Toronto. Sabourin said he was not diagnosed with a concussion after the hit.
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The Penguins were down to five healthy defensemen in practice at Mellon Arena yesterday, even with the return of Alain Nasreddine from a conditioning assignment.
They could be back to full strength today.
Brooks Orpik, who sustained a slight concussion when he took a blow to the face Saturday from Toronto's Simon Gamache, is expected to return to practice today. He could play tomorrow against New Jersey after being cleared under the NHL's concussion testing standards.
Darryl Sydor sat out with a sore groin. Coach Michel Therrien said it was just a precaution and that Sydor also could return to practice today.
Winger Georges Laraque, who has a groin injury, left practice after about 15 minutes and remains day to day.
Backup goaltender Dany Sabourin said he was not diagnosed with a concussion after hitting his head on the goalpost Saturday in Toronto, but he had some unsettling effects immediately after the hit from Darcy Tucker.
"I'm not sure what happened," he said. "At first, I got knocked out. I couldn't see anything. Then my vision was [blurry]. I felt blood coming down from my head. I didn't know what was going on, so I just rushed to the bench to make sure what was going on."
Sabourin got stitches for the cut. He said he had a headache Sunday but felt fine yesterday in practice.
In his first game action this season and 15th NHL start, Sabourin gave up two goals on six shots before getting hurt at 15:07 of the first period and being replaced by No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
"I thought he could have been a little bit better," Therrien said of Sabourin. "We don't know when he's going to start again. We haven't decided for [tomorrow], but it should be Marc-Andre. We'll make a decision [today].
"It's not always easy when you're coming in and playing your first game. He gave up two goals early in the game and then got hurt. That doesn't give you a chance to bounce back. He hadn't played in more than three weeks. We thought the timing was right."
Nasreddine played in two games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins over the weekend to shake off some rust. He has been a healthy scratch with the NHL Penguins in all four games.
"You never know what's going to happen or when they're going to need you," Nasreddine said. "I needed the two games, I'll tell you that. When I played, everything happened very quick. It's one thing to practice, but the game situations helped me."
Although the Baby Penguins lost both games to the Philadelphia Phantoms, Nasreddine netted a goal.
"I closed my eyes and I shot," he said.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby empathizes with Orpik and anyone else dealing with a concussion. He got one when he was about 11 or 12 playing a rough kids' game.
"I was playing Wall Ball and I was running away from the wall and fell backward," Crosby said.
He said the effects, which including vomiting and headaches, lasted a couple of weeks.
First Published October 16, 2007 12:00 am