Gonchar, Orpik close to returning
More injuries mounting for the Penguins? Defenseman Jay McKee is not practicing today as the Penguins returned to the ice this morning. Pittsburgh did not practice on Tuesday.
*Updated: Dan Bylsma announced after practice that McKee (infection on his finger) will be sidelined for 2-4 weeks.
*The good news for Pittsburgh is that the return of Brooks Orpik (lower body) is close. Orpik practiced today for the first time since being injured against Boston and is progressing. His injury to begin with was a two week injury at the max. He’s had a week to rest and count on him returning to the lineup Saturday night against Atlanta.
* Sergei Gonchar (wrist) could play as early as Thursday night against Ottawa. He’s been cleared by team doctors and is shooting the puck very well.
If the Penguins decide to call-up defenseman Chris Lee, it won’t officially be made until after 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. If a player is called up after 4:00 p.m., he doesn’t count against the cap for that particular day.
A call-up at this point though appears unlikely. Gonchar is expected to participate in the Penguins morning skate on Thursday and will likely return to the lineup for the first time since October 20th.
Tyler Kennedy (groin), Alex Goligoski (knee) and Chris Kunitz did not practice. Letang skated but did not participate in contact drills.
Max Talbot is set to return tomorrow night against Ottawa but where he fits in the lineup is a mystery. Pittsburgh did not go through any line combinations today.