After having a day off Monday, the Penguins were back on the ice for practice Tuesday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center. There were a few items of note from the practice.
Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed injury) joined the team for a skills session in the morning and also participated in practice with the team – his first this season. For more on Malkin’s return click here.
Defenseman Olli Maatta (shoulder surgery) continues to practice with the team. While his status is currently unknown for Thursday’s season opener against the Anaheim Ducks, head coach Mike Johnston feels that he is close to playing.
“He does need final (medical) clearance, but I expect that he’s pretty well ready to play on Thursday,” Johnston said of Maatta, who did not appear in any preseason games. “Everything is leaning in that direction that he’ll probably play on Thursday.”
The only absent players from practice where wingers Chris Kunitz and Kasperi Kapenen. Kunitz is ill, while Kapanen returned to his native Finland while the team decides whether or not to keep him in the NHL to start the season.
“Kunitz was a little sick (Monday),” Johnston said. “I don’t expect that it will linger. They gave him some medication. We just kept him away from some of the other guys just to be safe for the rest of the team.
“Kapanen has gone home to see his family while we make a decision on what we’re doing with the young guys.”