Penguins Notebook: Kunitz skates in full gear, could return soon
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins are getting immediate help at forward after trading for winger James Neal, but help from within might not be far off.

Winger Chris Kunitz could be back as soon as Wednesday for a home game against San Jose, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Kunitz missed his seventh game in a row Monday when the Penguins played Washington at Consol Energy Center, but earlier in the day he participated in the morning skate, the first time he skated in full gear and with his teammates.

"No contact or anything. Just trying to move the legs," Kunitz said. "It's nice to be out there, but there's a lot of areas to work on."

Kunitz was scheduled to be evaluated by medical staff Monday night with the hope that a timetable for his return could be firmed, but it appears he should be back before the end of this stretch of five games in seven days. The Penguins have road games Friday at Carolina and Saturday at Toronto.

"Hopefully, by the end of the week. Possibly for San Jose," Bylsma said.

Two other injured forwards, Dustin Jeffrey (leg) and Mark Letestu (knee), were on the ice before the morning skate. Jeffrey is believed to be the closer of the two for returning.

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