POST-MORNING SKATE UPDATES
A slew of updates following today’s morning skate. Here’s a run of the latest:
CROSBY BACK IN TOWN
Penguins center Sidney Crosby is back in town after visiting with his parents and going on vacation. Crosby said it was doctors orders for him to go away for a little bit.
CROSBY AUDIO: Sidney Crosby Audio
His return is not close but Crosby looks better and said he he “hopes and expects” to return this season. However, Crosby stated it is impossible to predict a return and said that there’s no way to tell for sure that he will play this season.
The Penguins and Crosby are approaching things that he will be back at somepoint this season. His return is considered at least 4 weeks away.
BYLSMA AUDIO: Dan Bylsma Pre Game Audio
COOKE MAKES POINT OF SAYING TYUTIN PLAYED LAST NIGHT
Forward Matt Cooke met with the media shortly after the Penguins morning skate. He was well prepared by the Penguins and didn’t have much to say.
Cooke said that the league gave him no explanation on why he was being suspended. Cooke chose his words correctly but clearly didn’t believe he should have been suspended.
Cooke said he has full support ownership, management and his teammates regarding his suspension.
COOKE AUDIO: Matt Cooke Audio
Cooke went out of his way to point out a few things:
1. Cooke said that in regards to his hit, Fedor Tyutin played the rest of the game and ended up playing last night for Columbus.
2. Cooke indicated that he has made adjustments to his game since rule-48 has been in place. Cooke in fact, mentioned that he has been called into Dan Bylsma’s office three times this season with Dan asking him why he let up on a particular hit and Cooke told Bylsma because of the new rules.
BYLSMA ON COOKE
“In terms of Matt Cooke and ruiling by the league, they look at those hits and have rules in place and deemed, a pretty substantial penalty for Matt and were going to accept.
“Matt Cooke for us is a physical player and how we want to play the game as a team and he’s a big part of that. He’s a guy whose helped us be a successfull team and he’s going to continue to be a physical part of our team.”
All 4 CALLUPS TO PLAY
All four callups for the Penguins tonight will be in the lineup as I mentioned in the morning skate updates article. Joe Vitale talked how he believes the Penguins were looking to add some speed to their lineup, which is one of the reasons he got the call.
Nick Johnson said he got wind Wednesday morning that he was coming up but the group didn’t leave from Wilkes Barre until around 4:00 p.m.
Head coach Dan Bylsma made a joke about it being a first that the team had to send a van to pick up the players. Vitale said they rode in a 15 passenger van. Pens usually only have to send a car.
All four players are under the assumption that they will be traveling with the team on the road this weekend.
KUNITZ SIDELINED FOR ABOUT 4-6 DAY PERIOD
Dan Bylsma confirmed that Chris Kunitz will be missing a couple of games. Bylsma said his injury is a 4-to-6 day period at this time, but indications are it could be a little bit longer. Kunitz won’t travel with the team on their road trip.
Dupuis – Staal – Kennedy
Sterling – Jeffrey – Johnson
Rupp – Talbot – Conner
Craig – Vitale – Adams
Orpik – Letang
Martin – Michalek
Goligoski – Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury in goal
Healthy Scratches: Ben Lovejoy and Eric Godard
PONIKAROVSKY’S RETURN TO PITTSBURGH
Alexei Ponikarovsky returns to Pittsburgh tonight and his stint in Los Angeles likely won’t last past this season. Ponikarovsky has just 4 goals and 8 points in 33 games played this season.
He will play on the 4th line with Trevor Lewis and Kevin Westgarth tonight.
The Kings expected Ponikarovsky to play a top-6 role. He signed a 1 year – $3.2 million deal in late July.