Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford spoke to the media for the first time in a while to give some general updates about the team status as they endure, as we all do, the current pause in normal activities.
On the current situation: "I view the big picture as the priority now ... My priority is my family, but the Penguins family is also very important to me, all the workers, all of our fans and our whole community ... We live in a great city. We'll pull through this together."— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 25, 2020
NHL players have been told, as of now, to self-quarantine through at least Monday April 6th, or until more direction comes down as the situation continues to change. Players are not being allowed to use the team facilities or skate together even in unofficial formats right now. But they do have some homework as far as fitness goes:
"The communication has been very good. I have communication from David Morehouse almost on a daily basis. We've stayed up to speed pretty good on things. The trainers have given each player a workout program at home. We want them quarantined and at home. We covered most bases."— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 25, 2020
Rutherford mentioned that no Penguin has even been tested for COVID-19 (to date, I believe that for the NHL only two unnamed Ottawa Senators have tested positive for the disease so far), so that seems to be a good sign that all the players have been steering clear and
One interesting update Rutherford gave is that some of the team has elected to return to homes near and far,
“Initially they stayed because we have good facilities here and our doctor, but guys started to feel like they wanted to be in their homeland with their family. We do have some players that returned home.”
Judging from Instagram stories and seeing some sunny weather and palm trees, it looks like Evgeni Malkin is in his Miami residence but the team has several other European players, as well as many Canadians.
The other big topic, of course, is Jake Guentzel. As a reminder, Guentzel had a shoulder surgery just before New Year’s that was said to put him out for a 4-6 month period. Given that the NHL playoffs may not even restart until July or August (if at all).
On Guentzel returning: "I would expect that, knowing Jake Guentzel, that he's going to be ready. His rehab is going well. He's at the point that he'll return home and continue to rehab on his own. All the reports that I have, there haven't been any setbacks at this point."— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 25, 2020
That sounds like very good news, and when the Pens re-start, they may well have a healthy Guentzel available for the next game. But what month that game will be in still is very much up in the air right now, and certainly doesn’t seem like it is on the near horizon. Which will at least give Guentzel and everyone else in the league time to rest up.