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Pens Report: 04.07.17

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens held a partial practice at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. Eleven players took part in the practice, while the rest of the team participated in an off-ice workout. 

Forward Carl Hagelin (lower-body) skated for the first time since suffering his injury, which has caused him to miss the past 14 games. Hagelin did a few laps around the ice by himself.

"He was just skating on his own," head coach Mike Sullivan said.

Injured players Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) and Olli Maatta (hand) took part in the practice in normal "contact" jerseys, though there wasn't much contact during the session. Both players are hoping to play one of the team's final two regular-season games, one of which is against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

"Every day is better. We'll see tomorrow. I think I'm close to playing," Malkin said. "It's not easy to say right now (if I'll play). I didn't have full contact. I'll try tomorrow morning. If I feel normal, why not?"

"It's a lot of fun to actually get back with the guys. I'm getting close to coming back," Maatta said. "I felt good. It's getting better."

Malkin has missed the last 11 games with his injury, while Maatta has been out for the past 24 contests. Maatta knows that even just playing in one game before the playoffs would be beneficial to his game.

 "I think that would be a big advantage having a game underneath your belt, not hoping right into the fire," he said.

The other players in attendance at practice were forwards Tom Sestito, Scott Wilson, Josh Archibald, Carter Rowney and Dominik Simon and defensemen Trevor Daley, Mark Streit, Cameron Gaunce and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

DALEY RETURN

While the Pens are hoping to get Malkin and Maatta back in the lineup, one player that did return was defenseman Trevor Daley. He missed 20 games following knee surgery, but returned to the ice in Pittsburgh's 7-4 victory in New Jersey on Thursday night.

"I was happy to get back. It's just catching up with the speed," Daley said. "You never get game-like speed in practice, especially at this time of year. It's tough to even get practices this time of year. I was happy I at least got into a game."

Daley played 20:48 minutes of ice time and looked strong on his skates. He was even jumping into the play and had a great scoring opportunity denied by goaltender Cory Schneider.

"I thought Trevor played well," Sullivan said. "We threw him right into the battle and I thought he played really well. I don't think he showed many signs of rust. With the amount of time that he's had off, all things considered I thought he had a really strong game."

Daley is a 13-year NHL veteran so he knows what to expect in a game. He's more concerned about getting his strength back in the injured knee.

"You're coming off of an injury that shutdown some muscles," Daley said. "Those take a little bit longer to come back than the injury. I felt good for the most part. I was happy to get into a game, to get a feel. Hopefully a couple more and I'll be ready."

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