SOUTHPOINTE, Pa. – Center Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed injury) will not play in Saturday’s afternoon contest in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. However, he didn’t rule out playing Sunday in Philadelphia.
“I won’t play (Saturday), but maybe Sunday,” Malkin said following his second straight practice.
And even if Malkin doesn’t play Sunday, head coach Mike Johnston said it is likely that he’ll return Tuesday night in Ottawa.
“We’ll see; we’re not going to force it,” Johnston said. “I’m sure he’ll be ready for Tuesday, but we’ll see how it goes for Sunday.”
Malkin admitted that he rushed his return from a previous injury and needed more time to heal.
“I rushed and came back early,” Malkin said. “We played back-to-back and I didn’t feel good after the second game. I took a little time off, talked to coach and he said to rest and keep healing, feel better and then come back.”
Malkin did not participate in line rushes at practice, but did work in every other drill and scenario.
“I feel good,” Malkin said. “My skates don’t feel great. I didn’t push hard. With a little rest I will be ready for the playoffs and back to 100 percent.”
Defensemen Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff did not participate in practice. Both players were ruled out for the weekend’s back-to-back contests, though the team remained open for Ehrhoff playing Tuesday.
“If things change early in the week we’ll bring (Ehrhoff) with us,” Johnston said.
Ehrhoff will continue to skate with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar in Pittsburgh.
PENS BACK TO 6 DEFENSEMEN Help has arrived.
The Pens recalled defenseman Taylor Chorney from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League and will suit up six defensemen against the Columbus Blue Jackets for their Saturday afternoon contest at Nationwide Arena after playing back-to-back games with only five blueliners.
“We have Chorney up right now because of the rules, we are allowed to recall a defenseman,” Johnston said. “We played short the last game and still have an injury, so we’re allowed to recall a defenseman.”
Chorney, 27, leads the entire AHL with a plus-26 while chipping in four goals and 19 points in 62 regular-season games.
“They’ve only been playing with five D so even just a few minutes of play would be nice to give some of these guys a break,” Chorney said. “The way that they play up here and move the puck, I skate pretty well and can move the puck. If I can do those things I should be able to fit in just fine.”
This is Chorney’s second stint with Pittsburgh. He played two games with the Pens earlier in the year.
WORKFLOW The Pens used the following workflow at practice…