CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa — Injured Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin returned to Penguins practice Saturday afternoon wearing the infamous red non-contact sweater. Malkin suffered an upper-body injury presumably after being cross-checked by St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo on Mar. 16.
Sources informed Pittsburgh Hockey Now that Malkin resumed skating last Saturday. He skated with Penguins skills coach Ty Hennes last Saturday and Sunday.
Today marked the first time Malkin rejoined the team during practice or a morning skate.
He gingerly participated in pre-practice warmups and carefully avoided taking hard shots or slap shots as other teammates did. However, later in practice, Malkin did unleash a few full speed wrist shots as part of drills run by assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Jacques Martin.
Malkin’s presence has been missed in the middle of the Penguins lineup. Teddy Blueger, who has been centering Jared McCann and Phil Kessel in Malkin’s absence played less than nine minutes after the line was ineffective during the Penguins first-period charge. The Penguins lost to the Nashville Predators 3-1.
Malkin has more than a point-per-game this season. In a bit of Penguins numerology, he has 71 points (21g, 50a) in 66 games.
The Penguins host Carolina Sunday, 5 p.m at PPG Paints Arena. Malkin is most likely unavailable for the game.
–Further Updates on Malkin and other Penguins injuries after practice–