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The Inside Scoop: Rust Update; Fehr an Option

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins


The Pens and Sharks both held afternoon optional practices on Tuesday. Pittsburgh skated at its practice facility in Cranberry, while San Jose used the ice at CONSOL Energy Center.

Here’s what you need to know from the Pens’ on-ice sessions…

RUST DAY-TO-DAY
The Pens had eight players take part in their practice: forwards Sidney Crosby, Beau Bennett and Oskar Sundqvist, defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Steve Oleksey and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff.

One player that didn’t take part in the optional session was forward Bryan Rust, who left Game 1 with an upper-body injury after receiving a blow to the head from San Jose’s Patrick Marleau.

“He’s still being evaluated and he’s day-to-day,” head coach Mike Sullivan said.

Rust, who scored the game’s opening goal for his rookie franchise-record sixth of the postseason, returned briefly during the third period, but then left the game again and did not return.

“We rely on the medical staff to take the necessary steps with our players and that’s what they did,” Sullivan said. “I get information from (head athletic trainer Chris Stewart) on whether or not a player is available or not throughout the course of the game.

“Our medical staff does a terrific job as far as taking the right precautionary measures. Our philosophy has always been the health of our athletes is first and foremost. Our guys take that very seriously. And I think our guys to a terrific job so we trust them.”

Sullivan wasn’t interested in discussing whether or not the league should take any further disciplinary action on Marleau for the hit.

“I don’t really have an opinion on it,” Sullivan said. “I shared my opinion last night. We’re just going to play hockey. The league does their job; we’re going to do our job. We’re just going to play.”

If Rust is unable to play, one option for the coaching staff would be reuniting Eric Fehr with Evgeni Malkin, a tandem from earlier in the playoffs.

“I’m comfortable with wherever they put me,” Fehr said. “They’ve put me in enough situations all year. Wherever they put me I’ll be happy to play.”

While certainly an option, Sullivan wasn’t tipping his hand.

“That’s a lot of hypotheticals for me,” Sullivan said. “Coaches don’t really live in that world.

“We’ll make decisions accordingly depending on who we think is available for our lineup. But hypotheticals is not the world we live in.”

THIS ‘N AT
*Sullivan on winning Game 1: “It’s nice to get that first win in the series, but certainly there is a lot of work to be done. I think our players are well aware of that.”

*Olli Maatta on the Pens’ D: “It matters that we believe in ourselves and have trust in ourselves. We know that we can do the job.”

*Sidney Crosby on his Game 1: “You get this opportunity and you just want to leave it out there. There are only a couple weeks left in the season. You understand the situation. There’s nothing to save it for. It’s about leaving it all out there and seeing what happens.”

*Matt Murray on nerves: “I definitely get nervous. A deep breath and realizing where you are, not thinking about the future or the past. Just taking a deep breath and staying in the moment.”

*Murray: “As a team we are all on a mission. This is what we play for.”

*Fehr on the final-minute PK: “You never want to have to kill those but I thought the guys did a great job, really battling, making sure the puck got all the way down the ice. Can’t say enough about the crowd at that point. You couldn’t even hear yourself thinking. It was crazy. That’s the loudest I’ve ever heard an arena.”

*Conor Sheary on the crowd in Game 1: “That last minute you couldn’t really hear much in the rink. There was a lot of excitement and a lot of energy.”

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