We saw some good news for Penguins fans on the two biggest injuries currently haunting the club, with positive updates on starting goaltender Matt Murray and important forward Bryan Rust.
Coach Mike Sullivan: “Matt Murray took full shots this morning when he skated on his own before practice. He will travel with the team on this road trip. He is making progress and we are encouraged by that progress.”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 13, 2018
Murray was concussed 15 days ago in a practice where a teammate’s shot caught him up high. That he is well enough to take full shots must mean he is over all symptoms, we’re no doctors but it’s common sense not to allow a goalie to stand in front of flying rubber if he is still hurting.
Though with the obvious concussion caveat that timelines are unknown and the path to recovery can be winding, this seems like a very positive development. Playoffs are still a few weeks off and by this account one would hope if the progress continues Murray could/should be cleared for game action sooner than later. As always with this type of injury, we will wait and see, but that he is taking shots and will travel with the team again it’s surely a great sign.
And the good news also extended to Bryan Rust, who started practice in a no-contact jersey but things obviously went well and he switched into a normal jersey and fully participated.
Bryan Rust thinks he might be able to play in New York tomorrow. But to be determined.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) March 13, 2018
Sullivan was a little more measured but it does appear like Rust will be very close to playing after being concussed himself just six days ago. Rust was on the ice very soon after the incident so again reading between the progression it would seem to indicate he wasn’t suffering from outward symptoms for very long after the injury caused when Rust was boarded by Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg.
Coach Mike Sullivan on Bryan Rust: “He’s an important player for us. He had a good strong practice and we will see how he responds to it.”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 13, 2018
Interestingly Rust (who was playing with Evgeni Malkin prior to getting knocked out of the lineup) joined a line today with Derick Brassard and Phil Kessel. That would provide a very interesting spark for the “3rd” line which has not received much offensive help from Conor Sheary, Dominik Simon and Riley Sheahan in brief looks for each in that spot. Rust has 15 points in the last 19 games he has played, so if he can come close to matching that he would be giving a big boost here. Pens forwards lines have been extremely fluid though, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see this experiment be short-lived if it doesn’t pay immediate dividends.
Lines from practice-
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Sheary
Carl Hagelin - Malkin - Patric Hornqvist
Rust - Brassard - Kessel
Josh Jooris - Sheahan - Carter Rowney
The Pens now hit the road for a game in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night against the Rangers, followed by a quick trip to Bell Centre to meet the Canadiens on Thursday. Pittsburgh then returns home for a four day break until they play the Islanders on the road next Tuesday.