The Penguins were back at practice following the All-Star break late in the day on Monday at CONSOL Energy Center.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, both of whom missed the All-Star Game with lower-body injuries, were not on the ice.
“After (Crosby’s) injection you have to wait so many days,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “His days are up (Monday). I would expect that he will return soon. We’ll see when that is.”
However, defenseman Kris Letang (undisclosed) joined his teammates at practice. He missed the team’s final game before the All-Star break on January 21 against Chicago due to an injury suffered on a hit from behind the previous evening by Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo.
“(Letang) was cleared to practice, but with limited contact,” Johnston said. “With concussions you have to go through the protocol. Each step along the way is checked. He’s moving along in the process. … We’ll see what our doctors think for tomorrow.”
Letang said he “felt pretty good” following the skate and passed all the concussion testing. He believes he will be in the lineup Tuesday night against Winnipeg.
“I think so,” Letang said. “That was the practice we wanted to have no problems. It went really well.”
Forward Patric Hornqvist (lower body, 11 games) participated in his first practice and is on the precipice of returning.
“Hornqvist did every drill in practice for the first time,” Johnston said. “His conditioning looks very good, didn’t miss too much out there. Now that he’s getting back in regular practice he’s close to returning at any time. We’ll have to determine that over the next few days.”
Also, forward David Perron skated for half of practice. It was a pre-arranged plan. He’s been dealing with a sickness and the team didn’t want to tire him out. He is expected to play Tuesday.
Forward Blake Comeau (upper body, 13 games) skated on his own prior to the team’s practice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. He won’t return to practice for another 5-7 days.
With the Pens in need of some healthy bodies, the club recalled four players from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: Andrew Ebbett, Scott Wilson, Bryan Rust and Scott Harrington.
Wilson is making his second NHL appearance, although his first was cut very short. Wilson made his NHL debut Dec. 2 against New Jersey, but left the game with a leg injury in the first period after playing just 4:21 minutes of ice time.
“The injury was tough,” Wilson said. “I take it as everything happens for a reason. I tried to rehab as fast as I could to come back.”
Once Wilson was healthy, he was returned to WBS and caught fire. In five games since his return, Wilson has five goals and seven points, including an active four-game point streak.
“During that (injured) six weeks I learned a lot watching (in the press box),” Wilson said. “I worked on the little things that I could do. I had a lot of energy and felt great to be back.”