VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel joined practice on Thursday at Rogers Arena. It is the first time he has joined the team since he was felled by teammate Kris Letang’s shot against the LA Kings seven days ago.
Guentzel has been dealing with an ear injury, which is visible up close.
He joined practice in a non-contact white jersey. At the start of the Penguins’ four-game western trip, head coach Mike Sullivan indicated that Guentzel could play. If he doesn’t play Friday against the Vancouver Canucks, his last chance would be against the Seattle Kraken on Saturday. I am running a few minutes late; my previous meeting is running over.
Guentzel scored 40 goals last season and 84 points (40-44-84) in 76 games. He had another strong start with five points, including three goals in the first four games.
Hello Mr. Heinen
Just because your son is grown up and playing in the NHL doesn’t mean dad can’t be proud.
Mr. Heinen observed Penguins practice from Rogers Arena on Thursday. The family lives locally. They also made the trip to Calgary to watch the game on Tuesday and will visit Seattle on Saturday.
The Penguins have lost two in a row and are 4-2-1.
Jason Zucker and Teddy Blueger remain absent. Zucker was injured Monday against the Edmonton Oilers and did not play on Tuesday, which opened a slot for rookie Sam Poulin to make his NHL debut.
Poulin also registered his first NHL point on a power play assist in the second period. The 2019 first-round pick was called up from the WBS Penguins with Drake Caggiula on Sunday after GM Ron Hextall placed Blueger on LTIR retroactive to Oct. 11.
Blueger must miss 10 games and 24 days, placing the earliest possible return from his upper body injury on Nov. 5 against Montreal.
UPDATE: After practice, Sullivan said Zucker skated following the Penguins’ workout. Teddy Blueger had a scheduled off day.
Sullivan worked the Pittsburgh Penguins’ zone entries, combining controlled entries with “dump-and-chase” practice.
Calgary and others have recently stacked the blue line against the Penguins in an effort to slow their rush. Calgary was effective and transitioned for a goal after Poulin turned it over at the offensive line.
Letang said the Penguins needed to play more simply against the Calgary defensive stand. Expect more simplicity on Friday against the Canucks, at least as much as Vancouver’s strategy demands.