Following an off-day on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins were back at it in Cranberry this morning as they prepped before heading out for a Florida swing.
With a team so banged up, there are a ton of updates:
- Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk skated together for about an hour before the team got on the ice. That’s a nice step for both, particularly Malkin who has had a murky outlook of a “soft tissue injury” on October 5th, with no official timeline to return. Neither are probably all that close to returning, most initial guesses expect Malkin out at least another 2-3 weeks at the earliest, but obviously making an on-ice appearance in full gear is always a positive sign.
- One step better was Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad and Zach Trotman all practicing with the team in practice in non-contact jerseys. By virtue of LTIR standards, Rust isn’t eligible to play until the Pens play @Dallas on Saturday. It sure looks like he’s on track to be back if not for that, then surely soon after. Bjugstad’s return can happen when he’s ready will be welcome too when it happens. Trotman is on season-opening IR following a summer hernia surgery and can not be assigned to the AHL until healthy, which is looking like it could be soon too.
- Best of all was that Jared McCann, who has been in and out of the lineup the past few games, was back again and in his normal spot on the second line center.
- Worst of all - Brian Dumoulin didn’t participate on the ice today. He took warmup on Saturday before the game but was a very late scratch in it. There have been very unconfirmed whispers about a potential paternity situation that could be in play, but nothing close to official is out there. We’ll provide updates from Sullivan when he speaks if he provides any further information, but one way or the other Dumoulin’s availability for a couple of quick games this week Tuesday-Wednesday feels in question, at best.
Update: Sullivan confirms Dumoulin is injured and won’t play the next two games:
#Pens coach Sullivan said Dumoulin is out with a lower-body injury. He will not play in the next two games, but the team will update from there. Galchenyuk and Malkin skated on their own this morning with skills coach Ty Hennes and will not travel. -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) October 21, 2019
The lines were:
#Pens lines this AM:— Josh Getzoff (@PensJG) October 21, 2019
Top pair John Marino, on his off-hand stands out the most. Is this viable? Well, it can’t be worse than Jack Johnson playing against top competition — the results of that are already well-known.
Can Juuso Riikola push past Johnson to be on the third pair with Erik Gudbranson for any games this week? That would realistically be the team’s strongest (or perhaps less weak) third pair if Dumoulin is out this week.