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Penguins Roundup: 12/22/13

Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 11:48 AM / Features
By Sam Kasan

The Penguins held practice at CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday afternoon before boarding a flight to Ottawa.

A few notable players were absent from the skate. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Joe Vitale all had maintenance days. Evgeni Malkin skated on his own prior to the team practice. Injured Reserve players Brooks Orpik (concussion), Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) and Tanner Glass (broken hand) all participated.

With so many of the regulars missing the team was throwing in bodies to fill up slots. We wouldn’t read too much into the combos and pairings, but here they are anyway…

Glass-Gibbons-Dupuis
Conner-Jokinen-Neal
Conner/Neal-Sutter-Zolnierczyk
Adams-Sill-Kobasew

Maatta-Niskanen
Dumoulin-Bortuzzo
Samuelsson-Despres
Orpik-Scuderi-Engelland

After the skate, head coach Dan Bylsma had no updates except that Orpik, Scuderi and Glass all had another full day of practice with the team.

Out of the three of them, it looks like Glass is the closest to a return as Bylsma said the winger could play Monday against the Senators. "He was good (Saturday), today was another test for him and I would say he’s game-time for (Monday)’s game," Bylsma said. "It’s a possibility."

Meanwhile, Orpik said it's possible that he could play Friday vs. Carolina. "Yeah, I think there’s a few of us that (Friday is) feasible for," he said. "But the group we have playing right now is obviously getting the job done, so that’ll be a coaches’ decision, I think, when we all get back in."

The veteran defenseman joked that he may try to time his return for Friday simply because it will be the first game after the NHL's three-day holiday break, saying, "I think we’ll all feel terrible after the three-day break, so I don’t know. Maybe I should wait for that so it slows everybody else down. It’ll be a little easier to break back in."

But all jokes aside, Orpik isn't sure what his exact timetable is. He returned to full practice on Friday for the first time since suffering a concussion on Dec. 7 against Boston and said today after his second skate with the team, that "physically, I feel pretty good ... You just try to eat right and take care of yourself when you can’t do stuff so when you do start, it comes back pretty quick. I’ve been skating with Mike Kadar, the strength coach, so the conditioning feels fine."

But Orpik was quick to reiterate well the team has been doing winning seven games in a row, and said because of that he doesn't think there is any rush to get back.

"It's been really fun to watch," Orpik said of the young defensemen filling in. "These guys all work really hard and it's been fun to watch. I don't think anybody expected all of them to be here at the same time, but that's the way it played out and they've all done a really good job."

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