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Practice update: Illness strikes the Pens on Monday, Zucker skates

Three players missed practice with non-COVID illness and a little more on Jason Zucker

NHL: MAR 31 Penguins at Wild Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a day off on Sunday, the Penguins were back on the ice at their practice facility to prep for what will be a busy and important week ahead. Unfortunately, though, there wasn’t a full compliment of players:

The top two lines remained unchanged from Saturday’s game, most notably with Jeff Carter continuing to play wing on Evgeni Malkin’s line.

After practice, it was revealed the missing players (Danton Heinen, Kasperi Kapanen and Anthony Angello) were absent due to a non-COVID illness.

The team can give the players a bit more time and then determine if any emergency call-ups will be needed from the AHL to round out a lineup for tomorrow’s clash against Colorado. With Zohorna around, the team would need two of the three to be available for a full lineup for tomorrow or else have to bring a player or two up if necessary.

Sullivan also discussed forward Jason Zucker, who left during his return game after taking a nasty spill on Thursday night and was unable to play on Saturday.

This would match very closely in tone to what Zucker posted on his Instagram last night as he posted to recap his return to playing in Minnesota. Zucker also said, “thank you for all the well wishes and concern over the last few days. I’m feeling better and hope to be back in the lineup soon.”

Of course “soon” doesn’t narrow down what could mean a wide array of actual time, but it does look like the worst case scenario of a significant injury has been avoided. Zucker remained with the team on the road trip after his injury, and was not observed to be using crutches or having any obvious signs of injury like that or a walking boot in Colorado on Saturday.

With the way Zucker twisted and went down, and couldn’t get off the ice under his own power there had to be some damage done, but the degree remains publicly unknown.

After practice, Zucker was seen on skates to get some work in on his own with the Pens’ skills coach.

Regardless of what Sullivan offers tomorrow when more information has been promised, as usual this time of year (or, any time of year really) what the coach offers likely won’t be as important as seeing Zucker already back on the ice to re-start the all too familiar process of individual workouts again.