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Sergei Gonchar Practices With Penguins

May 12, 2009 – 12:25 PM
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Adam Gretz

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After being knocked out of Friday's game on a controversial hit by Alex Ovechkin, it was pretty much assumed that Sergei Gonchar's season was over. As it turns out, that might have been a premature thought.

According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Gonchar, perhaps channeling his inner Willis Reed, took part in an optional practice with the Penguins on Tuesday, which would seem to leave open the possibility of him being available for Game 7 Wednesday night in Washington.

In his absence the past two games, the Penguins have been using seven defensemen and only 11 forwards, almost as if they're platooning veteran Phillipe Boucher and rookie Alex Goligoski to replace Gonchar in the lineup. Goligoski recorded an assist in Monday's 5-4 overtime loss.

The Penguins, like any team in the playoffs, have not commented on the severity of Gonchar's injury, or even specified what it is (though it's not difficult to figure out which part of his body is actually hurt).

It remains to be seen whether or not Gonchar will actually play on Wednesday, and how effective he would be playing through an injury. That said, it would likely be, if nothing else, an emotional lift to the Penguins, who view Gonchar as one of the leaders in their locker room.
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