Off the report:
- Bryan Rust ended up missing 6 weeks with a hand injury and returned to the game lineup on Friday.
- Scott Wilson missed Friday's game with injury, he's been banged up and rarely skating the optionals for a while. Wilson practiced with the regulars today and should be good to go very soon (if not for tonight's game).
- Trevor Daley and Jake Guentzel are also back on skates before this morning's team practice:
Coach Sullivan on injuries: "Guentzel skated today. Daley was out there for some time. They are all making progress."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 26, 2017
For Guentzel that should be a very good sign, considering there's been no news since he was left concussed and bloodied on Tuesday night by a hit that drew a three game suspension. Who knows if he will keep progressing and be ready to re-enter the lineup, but being well enough to skate ought to mean he's cleared a few concussion hurdles. It would also point to being symptom-free at the moment. As we know, all too well as Pens fans with head injuries, hopefully Guentzel has no setbacks as he continues to go through the protocol, but this news is certainlly better than no news and great to see him able to be at the point of being able to skate again and not badly, badly damaged less than a week after such a big hit.
Daley (knee surgery from a 2/22 injury) has gotten a few mentions lately of skating, so it seems like he's getting further along too. His initial timelines have a return for close to the end of the regular season.
#Pens hitting the ice for morning skate. Maatta, Daley, Guentzel, Letang skated earlier -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 26, 2017
- Nice to see Olli Maatta (broken hand 2/16) out there as well. Based on his initial injury timeline, Maatta should be inching closer to rejoining full team practices in the next 7-10 days.
- Kris Letang has been skating and "progressing" as Sullivan says recently whenever he talks about Letang, but still no news on any possible return date. I suppose it's good he's at least able to be skating but with the playoffs set to begin in less than three weeks the clock is starting to tick for Letang who hasn't played a game since 2/21 and hasn't shown any outwardly tangible signs of progression lately.
- No Evgeni Malkin at practice today
HCMS on if there's any significance to Malkin not skating today: "No, just part of the rehab process...there's a game-plan there." #Pens— Josh Getzoff (@PensJG) March 26, 2017
Perhaps nothing to go along with the proclaimed "game plan", but still can't be a great sign. The Penguins said Malkin's injury was minor, yet he'll miss his 6th straight game tonight. After tonight, Pittsburgh gets their last 2 day break between games for the rest of the regular season, so Malkin's certainly getting plenty of time.
- It's almost forgotten that Tom Sestito is injured, lost in all the updates of more important players. Just thought it's worth pointing out no news on the big guy.
- Earlier in the week reports were that Carl Hagelin was still seen on crutches after breaking something in the foot and out since 3/10. It was set to be "at least" a 4-6 week injury, which at this point really has to put his availability for the beginning of the playoffs in great doubt.
- It was also reported that Ron Hainsey was skating earlier but no mention of him today. He was said to be "week-to-week" as of 3/15, so very much unknown if he will be able to be an option for the playoff lineup when they start.
Well, there you have it. The Pens gain one back this week (Rust) but add another (Guentzel) to the list. Hopefully, mercifully the tide will turn here soon as the regular season begins to come to an end.