Injured Staal a game-time decision
MONTREAL -- Injured Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal will be a game-time decision for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, but veteran winger Bill Guerin has been ruled out with an undisclosed injury.
Staal and Guerin both took the morning skate Thursday. Staal said he felt fine even though he had surgery to repair a cut tendon in his foot last Friday night.
"Yeah, I feel good. More confident and feel stronger. Felt good this morning," Staal said after the morning skate.
Could he play an entire game?
"It's tough to say right now but we'll see how it goes. But I'm feeling again really good out there and really comfortable," he said.
"Every morning it's a little sore. It's going to, obviously all throughout the night it's going to swell up a little bit, but again trainers did a good job of loosening it up," Staal said.
Coach Dan Bylsma said Staal would be a game-time decision, although Staal clearly wants to be in the lineup.
"It's obviously the coaches, it's their decision on whether I'm in or not. I'm going to give my two cents to them and we'll see how they take it," Staal said.
"I always want to play. Whether or not it happens, we'll see how it goes," he said.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy nominee as one of the game's best two-way forwards was cut by the skate of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban mid-way through Game 1.
"He looked good out there," Bylsma said. "He was out there skating around and in some battle situations, so we will see tonight."
If Staal does play, it won't be for the same number of minutes he was playing before, the coach said.
"With his situation, talking to the doctors and talking to Jordan, it's about him being comfortable in the boot," Bylsma said. "There is no danger in the procedure he had or other dangers for Jordan. It's just a matter of getting in the boot and being comfortable, being able to push off. When and if he was able to play, you'll probably see a situation where he won't be placed directly back into 20 minutes a night in every situation. We'll have to wait and see how it goes."
Guerin, who missed Game 3 in Montreal, skated long after the regulars came off the ice. He said he is feeling better and is targeting Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Saturday for a return.
"That's my goal. I'm not going to say yes or no, but I will tell you that's my goal is to play Game 5. Right now that's what I'm shooting for. I felt good on the ice this morning and had a lot of energy, a lot of good jokes in the locker room this morning so I'm feeling better," said Guerin, who has three goals and five assists in eight postseason games this spring.
"Definitely hockey-related. Nothing in my personal life or anything like that. It was all hockey-related. Just, like I said, resting comfortably," he said.
Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.
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