Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar has been skating on his own for about three weeks now but he has been cleared to practice with the team and will do so tomorrow afternoon for the first time since having shoulder surgery. The Penguins practice at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports Gonchar is
two-three weeks ahead of schedule. A return in mid February remains a possibility if Gonchar continues to progress at this pace. Gonchar should be back a couple weeks before the March 4th trade deadline. That could play a factor into the Penguins plans at the deadline regarding their plethora of offensive defensemen. Other reports have Gonchar returning sometime in March.