Post-Practice Buzz & Thoughts

—- There’s nothing encouraging about Sidney Crosby’s situation right now, despite any type of spin some media members might try to put on it claiming he’s just being cautious and such until he feels 100%. Dealing with symptoms just eight games after returning, is alarming regardless of whether the symptoms might just be minor.
—- With Crosby on the shelf and Jordan Staal day to day due to a lower body injury, Pascal Dupuis is likely to be the Penguins No. 2 center vs the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night.

The Penguins love the speed Dupuis provides down the middle on the offensive rush and on the back check, and even prior to Staal, Park and Crosby going down with injuries this week, there has been some intrigue about Dupuis as an option to see time as a third line center when the Penguins play Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin together.
Now Dupuis might be relied to fill a top-6 center role in the short-term, something Dupuis likely never imagined prior to the season. Dupuis also hasn’t been awful in the faceoff circle, winning 21 of 43 draws, 48.8%, including 17 of 32 draws at even strength.
Dupuis is having a career season, ranking third on the team with 22 points and is tied for 4th on the team with 9 goals.
—- One player who’s missing a golden opportunity right now is Dustin Jeffrey who I’m told the Penguins feel won’t be an option to play until after the new year. Jeffrey continues to suffer setback after setback with his surgically repaired knee. He came back to game action too quick when his knee wasn’t strong enough and now he’s been dealing with swelling around the knee since the Penguins shut him down over three weeks ago. It’s been a lost season so far for Jeffrey.
—- Despite being extremely deep on the blueline and having $54 million committed to salaries for next season, the Penguins sources says, have some interest in discussion a possible extension with defenseman Matt Niskanen before the upcoming trade deadline. It has come up internally I’m told. More on this later….

Injury Report

*Sidney Crosby (headaches) – Out indefinitely, low workout regiment at this point. No timetable for his return
*Jordan Staal (lower body) – day to day, considered unlikely to play tomorrow night but has not been ruled out
*Richard Park (foot) – Has a foot fracture, out 4 to 6 weeks
*Robert Bortuzzo (concussion) – Out indefinitely
*Kris Letang (concussion) – Timetable for a return remains unclear. Did not practice today
*Dustin Jeffrey (knee) – Not practicing, still going through off-ice rehab
*Ben Lovejoy (wrist) – Still a few weeks away but getting close to returning.
On the Mend
Zbynek Michalek (concussion) – Cleared for practice and doing very well. Regarded as having a good chance to be cleared to play this week. Friday is said to be a likely target date.
Brian Strait (elbow) – Practiced today with team for first time in about two months. Getting close to returning to game action but not as close as Michalek is at this point.