Latest on Staal status, and Mario’s one-day return


Well, there is a trail of smoke about injured C JORDAN STAAL, stemming from this report:

The latest:


–Coach DAN BYLSMA denied the information in that report that there is another broken bone in Staal’s right hand. “That is not true,” he told reporters after practice today at Southpointe Iceoplex.

Bylsma added that Staal “continues to progress (on) the timeline we had before. … He’s scheduled for another X-Ray next week, after having the pin taken out the last week or so. There was calcification in the bone. We’re going to continue to need to see that next week. We’re going to schedule an X-Ray and will keep rehabbing on his current course.”

–Official word from the team prior to Staal’s surgery on Nov. 1 was that he “could miss up to six weeks.”

–Draw your own conclusions, but I couldn’t get anybody to DENY the report until Bylsma addressed it with local reporters after practice. In five years covering this team, if a report any report has been inaccurate I’ve been informed of that inaccuracy within an hour (at the latest). This report was up for several hours before Bylsma addressed it.

Two points about injuries: 1) Neither Bylsma nor GM RAY SHERO makes habit of addressing them before all involved parties are on the same page about the message that will be presented to the media/public; 2) NHL teams are not obligated to provide ANY information about players other than to acknowledge the status for the next game.

Bylsma provided a specifically detailed explanation about Staal’s status.  Though NHL teams are famous for not being completely upfront about players’ injuries, I can’t see how intentionally misleading the media/public about Staal’s status would benefit the Penguins in this particular case.  

–Bylsma had said Wednesday that Staal was “not close” to playing. He added that Staal only recently started the process of restoring regular motion to the hand, which Bylsma said was “not immobilized.”

–Staal has been working individual practice sessions for weeks. Only recently was he spotted wearing a glove on the injured right hand, and his stick work has been limited. I’ve not seen him on the ice since Tuesday, but that does not mean he hasn’t been on the ice – just not when the media has had access to the Penguins.

= MARIO LEMIEUX has called upon former Penguins teammates such as PAUL COFFEY, RON FRANCIS and BRYAN TROTTIER to represent the organization in an alumni game against former Washington Capitals players.

The game will be played at 9:30 a.m. at Heinz Field on Dec. 31, and 10,000 tickets will be sold at a cost of $25 per ticket. Tickets go on sale Dec. 17 at 10 a.m., at or by calling (800) 745-3000. Fans attending the game can also watch the Penguins practice session at 11:30 a.m. on the Heinz Field ice surface. The Capitals 2 p.m. practice will be closed to the public.

Lemieux’s Penguins beat the Capitals in the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup champions. Also playing for the Penguins will be recently retired BILL GUERIN, whose Penguins beat the Capitals on the 2009 Cup run.

There is speculation that LARRY MURPHY, who played for the Capitals and those 1991-92 Cup champion Penguins, is one of a few players considering the act of skating for both teams during the alumni game.