The Pittsburgh Penguins team Twitter account released a little bombshell on Monday. As if the completed sale of the team to the Fenway Group and Tristan Jarry as the NHL’s No. 2 star of the week wasn’t enough, Evgeni Malkin joined the team’s morning skate in Calgary.
Malkin wore a white non-contact jersey. His appearance marked the first time Malkin has skated with the team in an official capacity this season. The Russian superstar had offseason knee surgery relating to an injury he suffered last March.
“He looked pretty good to me. It was nice to see him out there. It was my first time skating with him (and) it was fun seeing what he can do while even while he’s still rehabbing,” Brian Boyle said.
Evgeni Malkin was skating on his own and with Pittsburgh Penguins skills coach Ty Hennes at the UPMC Lemieux Complex.
The Penguins face the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday night. Malkin has not been activated off of IR and will likely skate with the team for a few weeks before rejoining the lineup, but Monday represented a milestone in his recovery. Malkin has not yet played this season, nor has he practiced with the team.
“We’re always happy to see a teammate back in practice after a long recovery like this. We know how it feels to be left at home and not with the team. It’s cool to have him back with us,” Kris Letang said.
Initial estimates placed Malkin’s return in mid-December, but the Penguins have previously declined to cite a specific timeline for Malkin’s return.
“He’s at the next stage of his rehab process. Our medical (staff) thinks he’s ready to have our players around him and participate in a non-contact fashion. We’re excited about that step. It’s certainly real encouraging,” head coach Mike Sullivan said.