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Penguins Roundup: Martin Returns to Practice

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 1:49 PM / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Roundup: Martin Returns to Practice
Penguins defenseman Paul Martin and forward Joe Vitale returned to full practice

Injured Penguins players Paul Martin and Joe Vitale both participated in full team practice at CONSOL Energy Center Monday afternoon.

There is no timetable for either players return.

Martin has been out of the lineup since suffering a broken hand in mid-February while playing for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Martin, who had an X-ray on his broken hand Sunday, is hoping that he is close to returning.

“It’s good in general to be out with the guys. It’s been a long couple of weeks,” Martin said. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Getting back to practice and hopefully play soon.”

The X-rays showed progress and healing for Martin to take the next and return to full practice. However, he is not quite ready to return to game action.

“I would like to play (Tuesday), but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Martin joked. “We’re not through the woods yet. It’s nice to know that I’ll be back hopefully playing soon. And hopefully be fresh and ready to go for the playoffs and help the team anyway I can.”

Martin, who had been skating on his own, said that playing Thursday in Winnipeg is “a long shot,” but he “would love to play back home (in Minnesota) Saturday.”

Martin has missed 42 games this season. A broken leg forced him to miss 23 games, while the broken hand has kept him out of the Penguins’ last 16 games.

“We’ve been without Paul now for quite a few games and quite a time period,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Knowing that we may see him in the near future is definitely a lift for our team, and our defense.

“Hopefully, he’s going to see some action before the end of the season in games.”

Vitale has missed the last five games with a mid-body injury.

Defenseman Kris Letang continues to practice with the team as well.

BETHEL PARK WINS NATIONAL TITLE

Congratulations to the Bethel Park Black Hawks, who defeated Illinois’ Providence Catholic, 2-1, in the USA Hockey national high school championship on Sunday in Omaha, Nebraska. Bethel Park is the first team from Pennsylvania to win the tournament.

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