PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Sergei Gonchar has been cleared to play after missing the season to date with a dislocated left shoulder, but won’t be in uniform against San Jose on Wednesday night.
Gonchar, annually one of the NHL’s top scorers among defencemen, wants to get into game shape before playing again – possibly Saturday at Toronto.
“I will take it day by day,” Gonchar said following the Penguins’ morning skate.
Gonchar was injured on a hit by Tampa Bay’s David Koci in the Penguins’ first preseason game Sept. 20. It was originally thought he would be out until late February or early March.
A four-time all-star, Gonchar finished second in scoring among defencemen for the second successive season with 12 goals and 53 assists for 65 points in 2007-’08. He also was second among defencemen in playoff scoring with 14 points.
Going into this season, the 34-year-old Gonchar’s streak of eight consecutive seasons with 50 or more points was tops in the league among defencemen.