Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (concussion protocol) participated in the Penguins’ Tuesday morning practice at Southpointe.
Ehrhoff missed 12 games before returning to the lineup last Wednesday in Washington. He was then held out of the team’s Sunday showdown with Columbus.
“I had a little bump in the road,” Ehrhoff said. “I felt great Wednesday coming back and the next day, too. But then I had some symptoms again and we’re being cautious with that. I’ve been seeing the doctors. Taking it day-by-day, seeing how it goes and taking it from there.”
Ehrhoff will join the Penguins for their weeklong West Coast trip.
“Anybody that comes back from a concussion, the doctors monitor them very close,” Johnston said. “If there was anything the doctors were concerned about, they’d tell us right away. With Christian, monitoring is the main thing. When guys are out that long and come back from a concussion you just have to monitor them.”
The only Penguins player missing from practice – other than the two newest defensive acquisitions in Ian Cole and Ben Lovejoy, who will be meeting the team in Colorado today – was blueliner Rob Scuderi with an illness.
“His family is sick, but he’ll meet us at the plane,” Johnston said. “We’re being careful with him.”
The Pens left after practice for Denver to begin a four-game West Coast swing that will feature stops in Denver, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. It will be a tough test for the Pens against four Western Conference foes.
Anaheim has a 12-point lead in the Pacific Division and is only two points behind Nashville for the top spot in the West. Los Angeles, San Jose and Colorado are the top three teams on the bubble. They are on the outside looking in, so they will be desperate for every point they can get to make a playoff push.
“That’s a tough swing,” Johnston said. “It’s a measuring stick for your team, which is exciting for us. We play three tough road games, get a day off and then play San Jose. It will be a hard tough building in all of those buildings. Especially with Colorado playing so well right now. I’ve watched them lately. I like the way they’re playing. They’re pushing like a lot of teams this time of year.”