CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — It’s a second straight practice day for the Penguins, who are setting up shop at the Lemieux Sports Complex on Wednesday before they fly to Columbus for Thursday’s big showdown.
The workout is underway at 11 a.m. sharp … I’ll have your updates below!
11:05 a.m.: First thing’s first … Matt Hunwick was working with assistant coach Sergei Gonchar on some early D-to-D passing drills. Could indicate he’s drawing out of the lineup for tomorrow in central Ohio.
11:10 a.m.: No Derick Brassard, so it appears unlikely the Penguins will see him before Friday’s season finale against Ottawa. Carter Rowney also remains out.
11:15 a.m.: Here’s what we have for lines and pairings on this blustery morning …
11:20 a.m.: You’ve probably seen the ads for the Penguins’ youth Excel Hockey Academy. A couple of the kids are in the training facility behind me doing some deadlifts. Every time the barbell hits the rubberized floor, press row shakes. A little unnerving, but also somewhat comforting in its regularity.
11:25 a.m.: Looks like Riley Sheahan and Kris Letang are getting head starts on their playoff beards. I doubt when the Islanders started this tradition in the early ’80s they thought the practice would hold for nearly four decades.
11:30 a.m.: Power play/penalty kill drills commence. Justin Schultz remains on the top unit, with Letang and Olli Määttä manning the points on the second unit. Conor Sheary, Jake Guentzel and Sheahan are up front for the ‘JV’ group.
11:35 a.m.: Josh Jooris is working on the top penalty kill with Carl Hagelin, Jamie Oleksiak and Brian Dumoulin.
11:38 a.m.: They’re stretching it out at center ice. I’ll have a Penguins Locker Room report for all of you in a bit!