Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Revolving Door Continues for Injury-Riddled Defense

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Revolving Door Continues for Injury-Riddled Defense

Article excerpt

On the same day Justin Schultz returned to practice, another Penguins defenseman, Kris Letang, was an unexpected absentee.

Coach Mike Sullivan said after an hour-long workout Thursday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex that Letang is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

It's unclear whether Letang will play Saturday night in the Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field.

Schultz, meanwhile, has missed the past three games after a concussion Feb. 16 against the Winnipeg Jets.

He wasn't a full participant at practice but was hopeful he could do that today when the Penguins skate at Heinz Field.

"The plan is to, hopefully, get cleared and practice [Friday]," Schultz said.

"Hope to be ready for the game. We'll see what happens here."

Though he said he took no contact, Schultz participated in a three-on-three drill that usually is a no-no for guys working themselves back.

Schultz also quarterbacked the No. 1 power play, another sign he is close to returning.

"He felt good out there today," Sullivan said of Schultz.

"I talked to him after practice on the ice. He said he felt great. We'll see how he responds. Certainly, that's encouraging."

The only defenseman to avoid serious injury this season has been Ian Cole, whose job it is to stop a heavy hunk of frozen rubber - traveling in excess of 90 mph - with his body, something he does more than pretty much every defenseman in the NHL.

CROSBY PULLS DOUBLE DUTY

When Sidney Crosby came off the ice after practice, he was only half done.

He went back out as a surprise to 100 youth hockey players skating as part of the Little Penguins "Learn to Play" program and was joined by several teammates.

It's that program that outfits more than 1,200 local youths with hockey equipment. …

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