As head coach Mike Sullivan prepared to speak with the media following Tuesday's practice, at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, he was alerted that Evgeni Malkin was selected to play in his seventh NHL All-Star Game - joining Sidney Crosby, who was voted captain of the Metropolitan Division earlier this month.
A reporter jokingly asked him if he was stunned by the news.
"I'm not stunned," Sullivan smiled. "They're very well-deserving. They've played extremely well for us."
Malkin, a veteran of these events, said he's most looking forward to seeing the young guys.
"Enjoy the weekend and see the new faces around like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews," said Malkin, who joked that he wanted to take selfies with them and the other players. "Meet the new guys, it's a good time."
For the second straight year, the NHL will go with a 3-on-3 format with the Metropolitan and Atlantic facing each other, with the winner facing the winner of the Pacific versus Central matchup.
"It's not easy, it's a tough game because you play against super skilled players," Malkin said. "It's fun but it's not easy. I remember we played 3-on-3 last year. It's more chances to score and probably more goals. Good for fans. I like it, I like this game. But it's not easy."
Marc-Andre Fleury, Phil Kessel and Trevor Daley were all at practice after missing yesterday's. Fleury had gotten a maintenance day, while Kessel and Daley were sick.
However, Kris Letang was absent after catching the bug that's going around the team (it's also hit Carl Hagelin, Olli Maatta and Bryan Rust).
"We're hopeful he's going to be okay," Sullivan said of Letang's status for Wednesday's game in Washington. "But we'll watch him today and see how it goes. Obviously he didn't feel well enough to skate today."
Meanwhile, Chad Ruhwedel missed his second straight practice due to illness.
"Chad's feeling better, but he's just in recovery mode," Sullivan said. "He's trying to get fluids in him. It'll be a little bit of a process with him. I think it might have hit him worse than it hit some of the other guys."
Finally, Matt Murray practiced with the team for a second straight day. He is day-to-day with a lower-body sustained injury late in the second period of Pittsburgh's 3-2 win over Carolina on Dec. 28.