Penguins Notebook: Roberts practices, could play today
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Rugged left winger Gary Roberts practiced with the Penguins yesterday and could play today in Game 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"My lungs are cleared up, so come [today] I'll take warmup and see how I feel," said Roberts, who missed Games 3 and 4 last week with a respiratory ailment that between those games was diagnosed with what he called "a minor case" of pneumonia.
"I've been battling it for a while, for a few weeks, so I think the medication has started to help," he said. "I hadn't skated for four days, but my lungs felt better than they had the past few weeks."
Coach Michel Therrien concurred that a decision on whether Roberts will be in the lineup will come today.
Roberts, who turns 42 Friday, skated with center Max Talbot and, at times, with Adam Hall and Georges Laraque.
He has two goals and an assist in six playoff games.
Linemates Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora were held out of practice because of illness but are expected to play.
"They should be ready," Therrien said.
It's believed Malkin was more under the weather than Sykora, and Therrien said both needed an extra day of rest. The team was off Friday.
Malkin is in a two-way tie for third in the playoff scoring race with 18 points in 13 games. Sykora has eight points in 13 games. In the past three games, however, each has just one assist.
The Flyers seemed more confident than ever that defenseman Kimmo Timonen will be ready to return today, although the status of defenseman Braydon Coburn is less clear.
Timonen missed the first four games of the series because of a blood clot in his left ankle but has returned to practice and continues to have numbness in that foot.
"I've got to trust the doctor's opinion that there's no risk at all if I play," Timonen said. "The symptoms, they won't be gone ... but it felt pretty good [yesterday] in practice."
That will be a boost for a team coming off a win and trying to stave off elimination.
"He's our best defenseman," center Mike Richards said. "He's the quarterback on our power play. He kills penalties. He's really one of the best leaders in our dressing room and maybe even in the league.
"He does so many great things out there. ... The confidence that we have in him back there, it just echoes throughout the dressing room."
Coburn, who got hit in the upper left side of his face with a deflected puck early in Game 2, got past the swelling that kept his eye shut for 48 hours, but there are other issues.
"Right now, I'm just kind of dealing with some things with the eye and stuff like that. Every day it's getting better," said Coburn, adding that "there's a good chance" he will play today.
The Penguins signed forward Keven Veilleux, a second-round draft pick last year, to a three-year entry-level contract.
Veilleux had three goals, four assists in nine games for Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs after getting 17 goals, 47 assists in 61 games in a regular season he split between Rimouski and Victoriaville. In three seasons in the QMJHL, he had 134 points.
First Published May 18, 2008 12:13 am