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More familiar faces return to Pittsburgh

Training camp is only a little more than a week away which means more and more players are returning to the city.

via @penguins

Last week, three Penguins players returned to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry for the first time since the team was eliminated from the playoffs back in May. Jake Guentzel, Chad Ruhwedel, and Jack Johnson participated in an informal skate session at the Penguins practice facility.

A lot can happen in a week, and that is certainly the case here as those three skaters were joined by a host of teammates for another informal skate session at UPMC Lemieux this afternoon.

In total, there were 14 Penguins players in attendance with Patric Hornqvist taking on the role of coach. Hornqvist was joined by captain Sidney Crosby, Brian Dumoulin, and Carl Hagelin just to name a few. Zach Aston-Reese also took part in the skate, marking the first time back on the ice with his Penguins teammates since breaking his jaw in Game 3 against the Capitals.

There were even a few pictures to prove that this magical moment did indeed take place. Just another sure sign that hockey is very much on the horizon.

From the looks of it, the players look happy to be back on the ice and well rested from their summer vacations. After two abbreviated summers in 2016 and 2017, the extra rest was well earned this time around.

From a fan’s perspective, having players back in town and on the ice is just more evidence that we are one day closer to hockey’s return. Excitement is starting to build and (hopefully) soon, the air will have that crisp fall feel that signals the start of the season. Remain calm, the wait is almost over.

The Penguins will open training camp on Friday, September 14 with the first preseason game scheduled for Tuesday, September 18 against the Buffalo Sabres. Regular season action kicks off on Thursday, October 4 when the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals come to town.