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November 27, 2011 4:00 pm

Penner cleared, close to return

In the background of today’s line-change talk is where Dustin Penner might fit into the equation. That’s a question that will have to be answered sooner rather than later. Penner, out since Nov. 10 with a hand injury, got clearance last night to resume full activity, meaning he will be able to play whenever he and the coaching/medical staffs decide the right is proper. Penner went through a full practice today, but Terry Murray said Penner will not play tomorrow against San Jose.

MURRAY: “He’s doing all the drills, he’s got a normal-colored sweater on, part of a line. So it’s a matter, now, of getting into that compete, getting through a few days of that, and then we’ll make a decision. … The clearance by the doctor yesterday is very encouraging, and now it’s getting into the compete drills, the battle drills, and see how he comes out of the day. Then we’ve got to make a decision.’’

Given Penner’s imminent return. who will be watched most closely in the next couple games? Andrei Loktionov and Trent Hunter would have to be at the top of the list. Incidentally, Murray was asked about the status of Scott Parse, and his first comment was, “Who?’’ It was, apparently, a matter of Murray not hearing the question. At least I think so. Regardless, there’s no update. Parse hasn’t participated in any on-ice activities in almost three weeks, and there’s no indication that he will any time soon.

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