After a two-day break from the ice, the Penguins were back to practice Saturday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center.
The workload was divided into two sessions. In the first session, the Penguins brought in a skills specialist coach to work with their unique talents. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Patric Hornqvist, Brandon Sutter, Steve Downie and Oskar Sundqvist all did several drills with the skills coach before the start of practice.
The second session was the regular team practice. Instead of the team working for 45 minutes, which is usually the length of head coach Mike Johnston’s practices, the players were on the ice for 75 minutes. And of course, they did wind sprints at the conclusion.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has worked out the past two days and skated for the first time of training camp Saturday morning with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. More on Malkin here.
Defenseman Olli Maatta continues to practice. He’s cleared for full contact, but the team is cautiously upping his intensity and battle drills as they work him back into the lineup.
The team pushed Maatta the hardest he’s been in battles and contact in Saturday’s practice session.
“He seems to be handling it really well,” Johnston said. “(Sunday) morning our trainers will give us any updates on if there are any signs or symptoms or concerns. If there aren’t, then we’ll keep ramping it up.”
Maatta’s status for the season opener Thursday against Anaheim is still to be determined.
As expected, long-term injured players Beau Bennett (lower-body) and Robert Bortuzzo (undisclosed) were not at practice.