While the biggest news from Monday’s Pittsburgh Penguins practice was arguably the return to the ice of defenseman Kris Letang, the appearance of James Neal at Consol Energy Center was also a welcome development.
Neal missed both games over the weekend with a concussion diagnosis he received Thursday. However, the sharpshooting 26-year-old took part in every aspect of the Penguins’ morning workout and proclaimed himself as feeling normal.
Neal told media members that as long as his concussion symptoms don’t recur, he will be ready to get back into game action Tuesday night, when the Penguins host Dallas.
Fellow top-six winger Chris Kunitz also practiced, inspiring hope he could assist the Pens against the Stars. Kunitz, who sat out the weekend home-and-home with the Flyers, bruised his ankle in a brutal collision with a net post during last Tuesday’s home win over Washington.
Beau Bennett (broken wrist) and Letang (stroke) got some extra work in with coach Dan Bylsma following the formal practice. Bennett is closer to a return than Letang, who said he still doesn’t know how long he’ll have to sit in the press box before donning a game jersey again.
In other injury-related developments, Tomas Vokoun was one of three goalies to practice. The Penguins haven’t indicated their plans for potentially returning the 37-year-old to their active roster, but he continues to work himself into shape after enduring his latest bout with blood clots.