The Penguins recalled defenseman Scott Harrington from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton early Friday morning. He awoke at 4:30 a.m. and made the trip to Pittsburgh from upstate Pennsylvania and was with the Penguins for their afternoon practice.
“I was very happy when I got the phone call saying I was going back up,” said Harrington after practice. “A couple days ago when I got sent down it was my goal to get back here as soon as possible. It’s nice to be back here. It was good to get on the ice this morning and get acclimated with the pace.”
The Penguins coaching staff was very impressed with Harrington’s play during training camp and he was one of the last players to be cut from the roster. But just a few days later he finds himself back with the team.
“Anytime you get sent down it’s disappointing. But it’s encouraging to make it far in camp,” Harrington said. “I definitely learned a lot. My confidence is up from where it was at the beginning of camp. I was really happy with that. To get the call a couple days later feels good. I’m just trying to make the most of this opportunity. I’m just enjoying today and taking it from there.”
Harrington is more of a defensive defenseman, something that head coach Mike Johnston likes and wanted to have on the team.
“We thought Scott had a good camp,” Johnston said. “The defense position, you look at the depth we have in the organization, to bring Scott up, he’s a very good defensive defenseman. He’s had a good training camp. We want to bring him up for a bit here to have him with the big team.”
To make room for Harrington, the team re-assigned Taylor Chorney to WBS.
Evgeni Malkin played 16:58 minutes in Thursday’s season/home opening 6-4 victory against the Anaheim Ducks at CONSOL Energy Center. It wasn’t his usual minute load, which hovers typically around the 20-minute mark.
But considering Malkin only took part in two practices throughout all of training camp and played in zero preseason games, it was a healthy amount of tough minutes for the Russian star.
“I didn’t feel good,” Malkin said of his conditioning. “It was hard. I’m not in shape. I wanted to play the first game because I’m not injured and we played at home. I will just keep going every game. We had a nice practice. We win. That’s good, but I should play better.
“When you haven’t played in a long time it’s tough because practice is so much different. The game is harder. But I’m glad I started yesterday, started at home and we won.”
It will take Malkin some time to work himself back into game shape. But his willingness to play was appreciated by Johnston.
“It showed a lot for him to say ‘I want to play and I'll play as many minutes as I can,'” Johnston said. “I was really happy with how he played.”