The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins season ended last night (recap here) in Game 5 of a 5 game first round season.
What does this mean for the NHL team? Well, the return of the "black aces", as WB/S coach Clark Donatelli confirmed the below players are getting called up:
Projected WBS Black Aces: Maguire, Warsofsky, Corrado, Gaunce, Pouliot, Wilson, Sestito, Archibald, Sundqvist, Simon, Dea, Porter, DeSmith— Seth Lakso (@CVSethLakso) May 1, 2017
These guys usually practice before the regular team does and stays a little off to themselves, but are still emergency reserves in case of extreme injury. The Penguins "regular" healthy scratches last game of Scott Wilson, Carter Rowney and Chad Ruhwedel figure to be the main reserves, along with current backup Tristan Jarry.
Speaking of Jarry, how much longer will he be the backup? We've finally got some news on Matt Murray and it's actually a positive update:
Coach Sullivan on Murray's status: "Matt skated this morning on his own with no equipment. The next step for him is to get in full gear."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 1, 2017
Murray skated on his own without equipment. He's done it a couple of times, per Sullivan -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 1, 2017
Murray was believed to be injured in the last game he played, on Thursday 4/6 against the New Jersey Devils, he looked a little clunky after making a breakaway save on Taylor Hall, was a scratch the last two games of the season. Murray tried to warmup on 4/12 for Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets but looked uncomfortable and left early, not to be seen since.
That makes almost 3 weeks at this point, and with Marc-Andre Fleury in great form at the moment, the Pens aren't in need of Murray at the moment. And even if that doesn't change, it sure would be nicer to have Murray as a backup than a guy with a single NHL game.
Murray may be a way off from a return, since some light skating is hardly the same as ready to jump from post-to-post and do the splits, but time heals all wounds and every passing day is one day closer to the return of Murray, should they need.
First, the good news. Tom Kuhnhackl and Ron Hainsey have apparently avoided injury from scares last game.
Of the players who left Game 2, Kuhnhackl and Hainsey are skating this morning. Hornqvist is not.— Jonathan Bombulie (@BombulieTrib) May 1, 2017
Patric Hornqvist wasn't seen and is officially a "game time decision" though signs seem to be pointing towards no availability.
Now, the worse news:
Morning skate starting. Don't see Hornqvist, Hagelin or Dumoulin. Hainsey out there.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) May 1, 2017
Brian Dumoulin and Carl Hagelin were somewhat surprise no-shows at a practice today. Usually when Mike Sullivan shows up on the ice (as he did today) it's not an optional, and to that end, several veterans who usually take the option and skip (Crosby, Kessel, Daley) were all out there.
For a guy like Hagelin, maybe no big deal. Coming off a bad foot he probably doesn't need to go on the ice for practices.
Dumoulin took a big hit from TJ Oshie early in the 2nd period but was able to return and finish the game with no obvious issue.
Officially all the players who didn't practice were deemed "game time decisions" though that designation would probably be given to anyone with a pulse in Western Pennsylvania today. Bottom line, we'll have to wait and see who is in the lineup.
Should Hornqvist + Hagelin be out, both Scott Wilson and Carter Rowney will play. If Dumoulin can't play, Mark Streit or Ruhwedel would slot into the lineup.
Game 3 starts tonight at 7:30.