Penguins news and notes
As noted earlier, Nick Johnson and Dustin Jeffrey were re-assigned this morning to Wilkes Barre/Scranton. Although Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis are progressing, the plan to re-assign Johnson or Jeffrey was due to management wanting both players to suit up for Wilkes Barre tonight. That was the plan regardless of Dupuis or Talbot’s status.
*Forward Pascal Dupuis does not have any structural damage to his upper cheekbones or right eye after being hit from behind by Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton Tuesday night.
Dupuis eye was swollen shut for over 48 hours and he would not be playing if the Penguins played tonight. The same for Max Talbot who skated today with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and was somewhat limited but is improving.
The Penguins as a team did not practice.
Talbot is regarded as probable to play Sunday afternoon against Philadelphia.
Contract Talks: While Pittsburgh’s focus right now is on defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang to some extent, Penguins general manager Ray Shero is expected to touch base with impending free agent
winger Matt Cooke during the Olympic break. Shero has shown a willingness to reach to pending free agents before the trade deadline in years past.
Cooke, 31, is in the final year of a two year deal worth $2.4 million. Dan Bylsma who has been highly involved in front office decisions is among the strongest supporters of Cooke and wants him back.
Cooke has 10 goals and 12 assists in 49 games played this season. He also has a plus/minus rating of plus-12.
Cooke will have the opportunity to get more money elsewhere, but has made it known he prefers to stay in the Eastern Conference and wants to stay in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is willing to give him an increase in pay, in the range of $1.5-$1.8 million on another two year deal. However, it is unlikely that they will go more than two years.
That was a sticking point with Jarkko Ruutu.