Penguins Notebook: Whitney skating again after surgery
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Ryan Whitney's comeback from foot surgery has taken a major step -- OK, some major strides -- forward.
Whitney, one of the Penguins' top defensemen, has resumed skating. He worked out on the ice with conditioning coach Mike Kadar for about an hour at Mellon Arena before the team practiced yesterday in what Whitney described as their third such session in as many days.
"It's just good to get back on there," he said. "My ankle is so weak right now that you kind of have to strengthen it through skating a little bit. No matter how much work you do off the ice, the skating really helps."
While getting back on skates is a milestone in Whitney's recovery -- "It's huge," he said -- his prognosis for returning to the lineup really hasn't changed. He still expects to play in late December or early January, although he acknowledged that timetable might be a bit conservative.
"That's what I'm thinking, right around then," Whitney said. "Maybe it will be sooner, but you don't want to get your hopes up and have that not be the case."
Whitney did not accompany the Penguins on the road but plans to skate at Mellon Arena again today.
If Jordan Staal gets his offensive game in sync in the near future, figure on giving an assist -- in every sense of the word -- to Evgeni Malkin.
For it was in the final minute of the Penguins' 6-3 victory in St. Louis last Saturday that Malkin, presented with an opportunity to pad his personal goal total by flipping the puck into an empty net, opted to give it to Staal, who had failed to score in his previous 11 games.
Staal punctuated his goal with a fist-pump that conveyed his relief at ending his dry spell and said he was not surprised by Malkin's selfless gesture.
"I figured he'd pass it to me," Staal said. "And it was much appreciated."
Consider that an early piece of evidence that Malkin did not shed his responsibilities as a team leader when his alternate captaincy, along with that of Brooks Orpik's, were rotated to Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill at the end of last month.
Winger Miroslav Satan, who leads the Penguins with eight goals and has scored four in the past three games, spent the past three seasons on Long Island.
And unlike his time in Edmonton, where he played for nearly two years after breaking into the NHL in 1995, memories of Satan's stint with the Islanders remain fairly fresh.
"Edmonton was a long time ago," he said. "I don't remember much. The Islanders, I just played there last year, so I know almost all the guys there."
Penguins right winger Petr Sykora, on the wide-open play during much of the Penguins' 5-4 victory Thursday against Edmonton: "It was like the '90s, up and down, up and down with no defense. It's fun to play, but it doesn't work in this league anymore." ... Thursday marked the first time the Penguins have scored an even-strength, power-play and short-handed goal in the same game since a 7-1 victory March 22 against New Jersey. ... The Penguins collected 4,005 pounds of food and $2,550 in cash contributions for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank before and during Thursday's game.
First Published November 8, 2008 12:00 am