“We are going to evaluate him again (Wednesday) morning … We will see in the afternoon what he has.”
The Penguins played the first 56 games of last season without Gonchar, posting a record of 27-24-5.
Bylsma said Kris Letang will move up to the top power-play unit next to Alex Goligoski if Gonchar has to miss any action.
Veteran Depth: If Gonchar misses Friday night’s showdown with the Florida Panthers at Mellon Arena veteran defenseman Martin Skoula, the lone player on the roster yet to appear in a game in ’09-10, would take his place. Bylsma talked after the Blues game about feeling comfortable turning to a player with a resume such as Skoula’s.
“We have had the unfortunate circumstance of having to sit out a player who has played over 700 NHL games and played 75-plus games for many seasons. It looks like most likely he is going to get a chance to play in the next game. That’s a fortunate thing to put a guy like that into the lineup.”
While the Penguins struggled at the outset of last season playing without Gonchar, who was recovering from a shoulder injury, Bylsma believes his team is up to the
challenge this time.
“Our game, our execution, is not predicated by one player or around one player. Certainly Sergei Gonchar is a very good player, but even tonight you see the execution by guys like Jay McKee who add to how we play and how fast we play.
“If we do miss him, I think we are going to play a similar style and a similar way.”
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