Penguins center Jordan Staal skated for almost two hours today but Staal is patiently going through the process and sounded pretty doubtful about being cleared to play in the Winter Classic.
Staal said today that he was just kind of talking when he said that earlier this week about the possibility.
However, Staal said he is much improved since two weeks ago and he is scheduled to get an X-ray tonight and doctors will evaluate his next step.
“Yeah I think so, ” Staal said on his hand feeling better. “It’s just a matter of again feeling comfortable with it. As long as there’s no pain and stuff, stickhandling and shooting it’s not exactly where I want it to be but I think it’s been improving since two weeks ago.”
On the prospects of playing in the Winter Classic….
“I don’t know, Staal said with a chuckle when asked about playing on Saturday. Staal sounded pretty doubtful about playing on Saturday in the Winter Classic
For Staal to return to the lineup, he has to get cleared from the coaching and medical staff. The Penguins are not at that step just yet and Dan Bylsma again said today that there is no timeline.
“It’s a little bit of all three, ” Staal said. “Like I say, if I feel really good and there not comfortable with it, then they won’t let me play. Kind of if everyone feels comfortable and ready to go and that’s how it’s going to have to be.
“I’ll see the Doc’s tonight and get another x-ray and see how it looks. If they feel comfortable with it, I will take the next step.”
Pascal Dupuis will be in the lineup tonight, despite not participating in the morning skate.
Ben Lovejoy still has a pretty good shiner on his eye but has been cleared to play. Based on rotation tonight, he looks like a strong possibility to get into the lineup over Deryk Engelland.
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal tonight.
Arron Asham will return to the lineup after missing two straight games.
Tyler Kennedy is expected to be available after leaving the morning skate early.