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Penguins Report: Sykora and Boucher Skate

Wednesday, 03.11.2009 / 12:21 PM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Report: Sykora and Boucher Skate
The Penguins held an optional practice Wednesday afternoon at Mellon Arena and only a handful of players participated. But it was the two players who worked before practice that was most noteworthy.

Forward Petr Sykora and defenseman Philippe Boucher both skated before practice.

Sykora, who is listed as day-to-day, has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury but hasn't ruled out playing against the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night.

"My legs are feeling pretty good so we'll so how it goes," Sykora said. "I'm going to travel with the team and a decision is going to be made (Thursday) morning. I'll know more then."

"He's getting better," interim head coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's a situation where we're worrying about a month and half or two months away, not (Thursday). The best thing is to make sure he gets better and that he doesn't get worse if he plays."

Boucher was placed on injured reserve after having surgery on his left foot. Boucher played through the pain for most of the season but decided to correct the problem in late January. Boucher has missed the past 18 games and there is no timetable for a return.


> Longtime NHL veteran Gary Roberts announced his retirement from the league Wednesday afternoon. After 22 seasons and stints with Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Roberts hung up his skates for good.

     
 

 
     
The Penguins acquired Roberts at the trade deadline in 2007. In 57 games with Pittsburgh, Roberts scored 10 goals and added 18 assists for 28 points. He was a hard-nosed veteran that provided leadership and stability to a young lineup.

"Pittsburgh is another city where I had a great time," Roberts told NHL.com. "I was treated awesome by the fans and the organization and I had an opportunity to play with Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Colby Armstrong and Ryan Malone. I thought I had an influence on those guys when I played there and they had an influence on me. How they prepared and how committed they were kept me hungry and excited as an older player.

Though Roberts missed significant time with a broken leg last year, he returned to the ice for the playoffs and helped Pittsburgh earn a Stanley Cup berth for the first time in 16 years. It was Roberts first Stanley Cup experience since 1989.

"I broke my leg in December and missed almost three months with that and torn ankle tendons," he said. "I knew I would be a small part of it, but it was an awesome feeling for me and really rewarding to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. We played a pretty tough team in Detroit. To get there for the first time in 19 or 20 years was very satisfying and something that I will always cherish. I was only in Pittsburgh for 1 1/2 years, but it felt like I was there a lot longer."


> Marc-Andre Fleury won his seventh straight start, tying a career high, in Pittsburgh 4-3 shootout victory over Florida Tuesday night. Fleury has won nine of his last 10 games and has started 16 consecutive contests.

The victory over Florida was also the 104th of his career, tying him with Ken Wregget on the Penguins' all-time win list.

However, with three games in the next four days for Pittsburgh, the team wants to make sure he gets a rest and can remain fresh. So they are trying to work in some time for backup Mathieu Garon.

"It's something we've talked about with (goaltending coach) Gilles Meloche," Bylsma said. "It's just a concern of both making sure we're rested and fresh and getting Garon to play at some point. We'll continue to talk about that and decide what is the best timing and the what the right course of action is."


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