The Penguins got back to work today to prepare for their first round series against the New York Rangers. With so many players banged up and/or hurt, attendance would be an interesting topic. Let's take it case-by-case:
His initial window of a return from his March 11th injury would put a return no sooner than April 22nd. Malkin has been ramping up his rehab, and today for the first time was observed shooting pucks with his stick as he skated before practice.
Evgeni Malkin is on the ice. Working on shooting the puck. And he looks pretty good.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) April 11, 2016
We'll see how it goes, the team hasn't officially ruled Malkin out of the opening round at this point.
In probably the best news of the day, Fleury skated with the team at practice and took a full, normal practice. This marks his first time doing that since playing on March 31st. Hopefully he suffers no further symptoms in the coming day, because it looks like Fleury could be on-track to play against the Rangers when the series opens up on Wednesday.
Fleury doing goalie things before start of practice. pic.twitter.com/2cc2OY38RL— Bill West (@BWest_Trib) April 11, 2016
Fleury was playing it cool after practice
Fleury wouldn't commit on whether he'd be ready to play this week. #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) April 11, 2016
Took practice with the team today, for the first time since he last played on March 24th, but was used on a defense pairing with Derrick Pouliot. Maatta's typical partner, Kris Letang, practiced with Trevor Daley.
Which would seem to make Maatta's status for the opener still up in the air.
Beau Bennett, Matt Murray
Weren't seen at all :(
Best as @BombulieTrib & I can tell, no Bennett, Murray, Rust or Malkin at official practice. Latter 2 worked out earlier tho.— Bill West (@BWest_Trib) April 11, 2016
Make of that what you will, but it would appear to be longshots that either Bennett or Murray are able to play early in the series.
Per Seth Rorabaugh of the PG, here's the way the Pens were operating today:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr
Tom Sestito - Oskar Sundqvist - Conor Sheary
Daley - Letang
Brian Dumoulin - Ben Lovejoy
Ian Cole - Justin Schultz
Maatta - Pouliot
Fleury, Jeff Zatkoff and Tristan Jarry were the goalies.
Since it's the playoffs, everyone is day-to-day according to coach Mike Sullivan. And, in a sense, we're all just day-to-day.
Sullivan: Murray is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Malkin is also day-to-day. Rust is day-to-day. Bennett is day-to-day. #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) April 11, 2016
For some reason, Henrik Lundqvist twice left NYR practice today. What does it mean? Nothing? Everything? Who knows, but let's freak out anyways!!!
So ... Lundqvist has left the ice again and has been replaced in net by an equipment guy. This seems unusual.— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) April 11, 2016
Also, Ryan McDonagh skated. Fortunately for the Pens, it looks like Dan Girardi will be able to play.
Everyone is practicing now except McDonagh and Girardi who were out here earlier. Girardi in contact jersey, McDonagh non-contact #NYR— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) April 11, 2016