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Time for the Penguins to close out strong (and stay healthy)

It's no mystery that the Penguins are hurting across the board.  At the very least this recent all-star break provided the team a chance to turn things around.

On the blue line there's Brooks Orpik, ailing from a mysterious injury sustained against the Ducks nearly two weeks ago.  It looked like a wrist/arm injury when seen on the replay, although that's mere speculation.  Judging by Michel Therrien's commentary, it doesn't seem all too serious:

“We don’t think Orpik is going to be there Wednesday but he’s close so he’s more day-to-day."

Michel Therrien
Penguins release

While we're on the subject of the blue line, let's not forget the power-play quarterback Sergei Gonchar.  The slow progression of his rehab is much like watching ice melt, but luckily things are progressing at a faster pace.  Just the other day the Penguins announced that he started taking slapshots in practice and will continue to test out the shoulder.  Can't say for sure what a return date looks like at this point in time, but this is potentially the final step in getting him back to the ice.

"I’m shooting more in practice. It’s a little sore after that but that’s the way it should be. That’s normal. I’m working on it. I’m working hard on the ice, off the ice, slap shots, everything. We’re trying to make sure my shoulder is ready for that.”

Sergei Gonchar
Ruslan Fedotenko is skating again as well after breaking his hand on Colby Armstrong's face about a month ago.  Still looking like he's another two weeks away but at the least he'll be able to condtion a bit.

Sid is still questionable for Wednesday's game against the Rangers but I'd rather see him sit it out.  Yes, it's a detrimental game in terms of making some progress in the division, but if all pans out like the last outing against the Rangers on Jan. 18, then it'll likely be more on Fleury's shoulders than anyone else.  And hey, we can at least hope for a Colton Orr vs. Eric Godard fight.

Returning to the ice however will be Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis.  The unfortunate thing about this tandem is that they're both more or less the same kind of role player for the team.  Guys who can grind it out, dig into the corners and pester the other team endlessly around the neutral zone.  Max had the chance to partake in the Penguins' recent neutral zone game, while Dupuis missed the boat with seven straight games on the shelf.  With both of them back in the lineup with a defensive scheme they were born to play, I really think the defense is going to look solid.

Rob Scuderi hasn't had the best of starts to the new year.  He took a puck off the face against the Capitals on January 14, limped away from a blocked shot earlier in the month and is currently battling the flu.  There's a good chance he'll be healthy enough to play tomorrow, but if the game were tonight it's likely he'd be a scratch.

So there ya have it - the list of injuries and when you can expect some returns.  I didn't realize until after I started typing this just how much there'd be to type.  But on the bright side of things it would seem everyone is on the up-and-up and on pace for a return.  In other words, let's just be grateful there were no setbacks or additional injuries to report.