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Crosby and Dumoulin back on the ice in Pittsburgh

Mike Sullivan also expected to join team tomorrow

New Jersey Devils v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

After playing just one game this season following a recovery from wrist surgery, Sidney Crosby’s season hit another bump with a positive COVID test sending him to protocol. Crosby, along with Brian Dumoulin who entered the same day, are going through the stages of clearing the protocol and returning to the lineup. Both are out of isolation and were able to get onto the ice today back in Pittsburgh, with the team up in Ottawa for tonight’s game against the Senators.

Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel got left behind in Pittsburgh, even though they played on Thursday, due to border entry restrictions in Canada that would have prohibited them from playing tonight in Ottawa.

Typically all players who have come back from COVID protocol have participated in at least one team practice before jumping into a game, we will see if that will be different for Crosby and/or Dumoulin. Morning skates on the second half of a back-to-back are spotty at best, but the team could hold some sort of practice for Crosby and Dumoulin to get on the ice again tomorrow morning in Washington and make a decision following that as to their availability to play against the Capitals tomorrow night.

Mike Sullivan went into protocol just after he announced Crosby and Dumoulin were going into it, and the Pens have been managed by Sullivan via web conferences as well as assistant coach Todd Reirden stepping into a bigger role in Sullivan’s absence. Unlike the players, it is much more likely that Saturday night will be the final game that Sullivan physically misses.

If and when all of these players clear protocol, the Pens will be at their strongest position of health for the season with only Evgeni Malkin out. Malkin is expected to be out for at least another month as he rehabs an offseason knee surgery.