The Pens practiced on Monday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Following the skate, head coach Mike Sullivan had updates on his injured forward group…
* Bryan Rust, who was injured in the second period of Thursday's 4-1 win over Colorado and missed the 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona on Saturday, is out longer-term. "He's still being evaluated, so reluctant to put a time frame on it at this point," Sullivan said. "But he is longer term."
When asked if it could be season-ending, Sullivan said he wouldn't go there. "We're hopeful it's not going to be that significant," he said. "But we'll get more information when we get more information, quite honestly, from our medical team."
* Conor Sheary, who has missed the last 5 games with an upper-body injury, skated this morning. Sheary was given a recovery timeline of 4-6 weeks after sustaining the injury on Jan. 31 vs. Nashville. "We're encouraged with his progress," Sullivan said. "He's tracking pretty well. Now that he's back on the ice, it's a big step for him. So we'll see where that goes. But we're really encouraged with the process that he's going through."
* Carl Hagelin, who has missed the last three games with a concussion, also skated this morning. "We'll see how he responds after today and we'll go from there. But he's still status quo," Sullivan said.
* Finally, Evgeni Malkin, who has missed the last 7 games with a lower-body injury, could play on Tuesday vs. Vancouver. "Geno felt really strong today," Sullivan said. "We'll see how he responds to the practice. He'll be a game-time decision tomorrow."
- Malkin, who has been practicing with the team since last Tuesday, skated on a line between Scott Wilson and Patric Hornqvist and practiced on the top power-play unit with Hornqvist, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.
"I think that getting him back just makes us that much more dangerous," Crosby said. "I think everybody can fall into more of their usual roles, maybe, in some sense. But even with Geno back we've still got some guys out, so I'm sure there will be a little bit of juggling. But I think just getting him back will definitely help us. You can't replace him. Other teams pay attention when he's in the lineup."
- The lines looked like this…
Guentzel and Crosby combined for a number of glorious scoring chances in their first game together on Saturday in Phoenix, but couldn't get any of them to fall. While it was frustrating, Crosby was encouraged that they were creating.
"We had some really good looks," he said. "Sometimes there's just no explanation as to why it doesn't go in. But we had some really, really good chances. Jake had a couple. He set me up for a couple. We're in and around there, so hopefully it can go in the back of the net here."
- The team flew back Sunday from their road trip through Colorado and Arizona, and got back as the 2017 NWHL All-Star Game was being played at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Phil Kessel was able to make it there in time to see his sister Amanda, one of the best female hockey players in the world and a team captain. He was watching as Team Kessel ended up beating Team Steady 11-10.
"I got in and I got to see the second half of the game," he said. "I came back right when the flight landed and watched her play a little bit."
The game ended up selling out, and Phil was impressed with not just the support and enthusiasm from the crowd that came out to watch, but with the product on the ice as well.
"I looked at their crowd yesterday, the rink was full, I thought the fans were into it and I thought the girls played pretty hard for all the people out there," Phil said. "I thought it was entertaining for the fans to watch."