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Paul Martin returns to practice, close to playing

Jan 18, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

Paul Martin AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a productive day off with several of their injured players returning to practice, including defenseman Paul Martin.

Martin has been out for nearly two months with a broken tibia, but he might return as soon as Monday.

“I want to get a couple practices under my belt and see how it feels after tomorrow and probably go from there,” Martin added, according to the Penguins’ website.

When he returns, he’s projected to play alongside Brooks Orpik. The two might also be paired up for the Winter Olympics.

In addition to Martin, Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and Jayson Megna (lower body) practiced with Pittsburgh for the first time since suffering their respective injuries. To make things more interesting, Megna was put on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

“(Megna)’s coming back from being out a while,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “So for your first day back, to be on the right wing with Sidney Crosby, we may see other people be there as well. But he adds that speed and can add that.”

Pittsburgh will play against Florida on Monday.

  1. Stiller43 - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    People coming back and not heading out is quite the refreshing change!

    Lets go pens baby

  2. penguins87and71 - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Hopefully Martin, Neal and the other injured players will come back soon. I do have a problem with Dan Byslma however. He said Simon Despres has to be better defensively. “He has to continue to, as a pro, work at it and be better at it. While I get that it was logical to send him down because of him not needing to go through waivers, but still I thought that Despres played well when he was up in the NHL this year and I felt he was actually pretty good defensively. I don’t know why Byslma hates this guy so much, he only let’s Despres play if he has to. I guess they just value Bortuzzo over Despres. I kind of see Despres being dealt at the trade deadline.

    • c9castine - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      of course you do. theres always somebody who thinks they should counsel one of the best coaches in the game today. nobody hates anybody. despres has a high ceiling and showed a lot of good things but he continually finds himself in tough spots and out of position low in the defensive zone. bortuzzo is responsible defensively, plays with a mean edge, and will push the play forward into the offensive zone and keep it there. he’s not as talented as Despres by any means but its a more effective NHL player right now.

      I do too.

  3. penguins87and71 - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Yes it does feel good that the Penguins are almost healthy.

  4. penguins87and71 - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    The only thing is the Penguins have a big pool of defensemen, they might have the biggest pool out of the whole NHL. In the near future they will have Harrington, Poliout, Matta, Bortuzzo, Domulin, Sammuelson, Letang, and Despres. That’s 8 defensemen and only 6 available starting spots. Whoever the two players are at least one of them should be traded.

    • c9castine - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      hopefully 2 out of 3 of the group of martin orpik and niskanen around around too cause thats not gonna cut it. harrington, sammuelson, and dumolin are nowhere near ready despres obviously not ready pouliot still playing junior and bortuzzo is just a good bottom pairing guy.

    • dirt2013 - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      How is sending Despres down a bad thing? Maybe it is no more than balsam said to get him more playing time?it is better than sitting in the Burg.

  5. penguins87and71 - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Hopefully they can at least keep Niskanen and Martin. Orpik in my opinion is kind of washed up. Scuderi is still going to be around for three more years and Letang for 8 more years. Hopefully the Penguins can resign Niskanen and Martin. So that would mean they would have Letang, Scuderi, Niskanen, Martin, and Matta. They would only have to fill one more spot with one if the younger defensemen.

  6. benrob99 - Jan 19, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    I used to be ALL aboard the “Despres is getting the shaft and should play every night” train. But, after watching him closely his last 3 or 4 games before his demotion… Disco is right. He gets lost in his own end WAY too much. He’s also terrible at clearing people out of the crease and his passing is below average. In open ice, or in the offensive zone he’s absolutely a top 6 (if not 4). But as far as being a complete defenseman… he’s just not there yet.

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