Injured forwards Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist were on the ice for the Pens Wednesday afternoon practice at CONSOL Energy Center.
They will not join the team on their trip to Carolina this afternoon and will be out Thursday when Pittsburgh plays the Hurricanes, but head coach Mike Johnston is hopeful that they could return as early as this weekend’s home back-to-back games against Arizona Saturday and San Jose Sunday.
“I’m optimistic they’ll be close for the weekend,” he said.
Malkin and Hornqvist did not take part in the contact portion of practice and stayed on the ice for an extra half hour after the team had finished.
Malkin suffered a lower-body injury on March 14 against the Boston Bruins and has missed the team’s last five games. Hornqvist has an undisclosed injury that occurred March 15 against the Detroit Red Wings and has been out for the past four contests.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who left Tuesday’s game in the first period after falling hard into the corner boards, did not practice with the team.
“He’s out right now and we’ll get an injury update today from our doctors,” Johnston said. “Twenty-four hours after we’ll get a pretty good indication of where he’s at.”
Ehrhoff has missed 17 of the team’s last 25 games with various injuries, including a concussion.
Right now the Pens have only 11 healthy forwards on the roster and six healthy blueliners. With the team tight against the salary cap, some decisions will have to be made regarding an AHL call up.
“I’m going to talk to management about that today now that we know our injury situation,” Johnston said.
The Pens used the following workflow at practice…