Penguins Notebook: Whitney hoping to return to the ice Wednesday
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Defenseman Ryan Whitney sat out the Penguins' game last night because of a sore groin, and he expects to miss at least one more.
"I'm hoping to play Wednesday," he said.
Whitney, who was injured in the second period of the Penguins' 3-2 loss in Denver Thursday, did not participate in the Penguins' game-day skate before they met the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, but said he hopes to have a "light skate" today to see how it feels.
Regardless, he does not expect to be in uniform when the Penguins visit New Jersey at 7:08 p.m. tomorrow.
"It would almost be like a week [from the time he was injured until he could resume playing], no matter what," Whitney said. "I want to make sure that it's not going to be there all year."
He originally was injured in a rush with teammate Colby Armstrong -- "I pushed off and felt it there," he said -- then, after having his leg rewrapped, experienced more pain during a penalty kill.
"I kind of stopped-and-started quick, and it felt even worse," Whitney said. "I couldn't keep going."
His treatment regimen includes massage and muscle stimulation, but Whitney is having trouble gauging his progress.
"This is the first [significant] real groin pull I ever had," he said. "I don't know what to expect."
Coach Michel Therrien was adamant yesterday that he has no immediate plans of separating Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who have meshed nicely on the Penguins' No. 1 line.
"They're playing so well now, it's tough to break them up," Therrien said. "There's a good chemistry. I have no intention of separating that line right now."
Islanders' legend returns
Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi, who grew up in nearby Syosset, N.Y., was understandably excited about Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour being behind the Islanders' bench last night.
"It's pretty cool, because when I was going to a lot of games, he was always the coach," Scuderi said. "He was pretty much a legend around here."
Arbour, at the suggestion of Islanders coach Ted Nolan, made a one-game comeback to push his games-coached total to an even 1,500.
"I was kidding with the coaching staff that I hope he doesn't do too good of a job, or he'll take our job for real," Nolan said.
He was joking, of course. In reality, Nolan, a Ojibway Indian, clearly has great respect for Arbour and what he accomplished in New York.
The Islanders wore their white sweaters last night -- that was the norm for home clubs when Arbour coached -- and were to raise a banner commemorating Arbour's 1,500th night behind the bench after the game.
It replaced one honoring Arbour's 739 victories as coach; there were plans to hoist one bearing the number 740 later this season in the event of an Islanders victory last night.
Therrien made three lineup changes last night, plugging Alain Nasreddine into Whitney's spot and replacing Armstrong and Jarkko Ruutu with Georges Laraque and Erik Christensen.
Laraque had missed the previous five games and eight of the previous nine because of a sore groin, while Nasreddine made it into uniform for the first time this season.
Nasreddine had a two-game conditioning stint with the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre last month but, aside from that, has had to try to stay sharp without competing against anyone except his teammates.
First Published November 4, 2007 12:00 am