Forwards Chris Kunitz and Marcel Goc were absent from Penguins practice on Monday at CONSOL Energy Center, while defenseman Simon Despres left the skate early.
“Kunitz wasn’t in practice because he had a scheduled doctor's appointment, a follow-up one,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We thought this week was a good time to catch up on some of those things. And Goc was sick this morning. So they sent him home.
“Despres left practice, had a nagging injury. So he just went out of practice and took that off.”
Defenseman Paul Martin, who has missed the last eight games with an undisclosed injury, took the ice as practice was wrapping up and did conditioning drills with assistant coach Gary Agnew.
Martin will skate with the team Tuesday and they’ll go from there in terms of deciding when he’ll return to the lineup.
“Paul Martin was just getting his final clearance for practice,” Johnston said. “It took a little bit longer than we thought. So we expected him to be in practice today, so we can assume that he will be in tomorrow for sure. Then after practice tomorrow, we’ll make a decision going forward on when he may be able to play.”
With the team having four practice days and just two games this week, the Penguins invited skills coach Tomas Pacina, who was here back in September, to work with the players again.
“Two times during the year, we have a skills coach that comes in,” Johnston said. “He works with the forwards and defense on two or three individual skills for them. So Tomas Pacina was in in September and he did four sessions, two with forwards, two with D. He’s back again. He’s back for this week because it’s a good week.
“During that first 10 minutes, he was doing two skill moves for forwards. Just working on their skills. Things that they can carry on throughout the year when he’s not here and just work on them. Then the defensemen he’ll do tomorrow.”