The Pittsburgh Penguins practiced Thursday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center after having a day off Wednesday.
All of the expected players were in attendance. As expected, the only absence on the ice was winger Pascal Dupuis. However, Dupuis was at practice. He sat in the stands with general manager Jim Rutherford.
The Penguins hope to keep Dupuis, who will be out for at least the next six months while on blood thinners to combat a blood clot in his lung, involved with the team in some capacity.
“I told ‘Duper’ yesterday that I wanted him to take a few days and we’ll meet at the beginning of next week,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “As a coaching staff we’d like him to be very involved with the team over the next six months. Certainly, we’ll keep him up to date with what we’re doing and how things are going. But possibly getting him more involved, not as a coach, but involved in helping us as a team as we move forward in the next few months.
“We can use him wisely. We’ll put together some type of job description over the next week or so and see how he responds to that.”
The team doesn’t plan to make any callups from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the next few days.
Johnston is looking forward to this weekend’s back-to-back home-and-home series with the New York Islanders because it will have a playoff feel and he’ll be able to read-and-react with coaching adjustments.
“In my mind you treat these back-to-back series like a playoff series,” Johnston said. “It gives you a chance during the year to simulate playoff action. You prepare for a team, play a game, then react to how you played and what you need to do that next day. You know they’re going to react, so they’ll adjust in their game plan. I look forward to the back-to-back because it does give us a chance to simulate playoff action.”
Goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury, who will be going for his 300th career win in his next start, and Thomas Greiss will split the weekend.
The Penguins used the same lineup from their 4-0 victory in Montreal Tuesday evening at practice.