CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — While the NHL has declined to give supplemental discipline to Capitals winger Tom Wilson for his shoulder-to-head hit on Brian Dumoulin on Sunday, the Penguins still presented some good injury news at Monday’s practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
First of all, Dumoulin was on the ice for the noon workout, participating in drills alongside his usual defense partner Kris Letang. Dumoulin, who didn’t return to the Game 2 loss in Washington after the first-period incident, wore a gray non-contact jersey for practice, so it wasn’t full participation.
Still, Dumoulin said after the practice that he feels better than he did last night, when he went through the NHL’s concussion protocol.
“You want to be safe with concussions and anything head-related,” Dumoulin said, adding that he had no comment about the league not giving a suspension to Wilson. (More opinion from the locker room on the matter coming soon on Pittsburgh Hockey Now!)
Carl Hagelin was also dressed in gray for the start of practice, the first time he’s been seen on the ice since Claude Giroux‘s questionable high hit knocked Hagelin out of Game 6 of the Flyers series eight days ago. Hagelin sported full facial protection Monday, with a plastic shield extending to his chin and a metal cage below that.
Hagelin did not participate fully in drills at first, but then removed his gray jersey in favor of a gold one and jumped into the penalty-kill work near the end of the 30-minute session.
In the locker room afterward, Hagelin appeared to be missing at least one tooth and was still nursing a cut-up mouth, but he expressed optimism that he’ll play at some point in this series. He claimed to not have an opinion on the Giroux hit.
Also to be noted, Evgeni Malkin participated in his second full-fledged practice in three days, making it all but certain he’ll see the ice for Tuesday’s Game 3 at PPG Paints Arena. All indications were that Malkin would return from his lower-body injury for Game 2, but he was a surprise exclusion just prior to game time.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells Pittsburgh Hockey Now that Malkin woke up Sunday with a touch of soreness in the affected area, so he and the Penguins decided to play it safe. One wonders if, had the Penguins lost Game 1, Malkin would’ve been pressed into action Sunday. Malkin was not available to reporters, but he speaks only occasionally under normal circumstances.
As per usual, Mike Sullivan deemed all players “game-time decisions” — injured or not. He also had a comment about how the Penguins might respond to the Wilson hit in particular.
“Teams over the last handful of seasons have tried different tactics to try and beat us,” he said. “Sometimes its physical play or aggression. We can be physical, but we don’t want to get caught up playing somebody else’s game. We’ll just play our game.”
If Malkin plays, it looks like he’ll be alongside Bryan Rust and rookie Dominik Simon, based upon Monday’s line rushes. Malkin had been playing with Phil Kessel on his wing before the injury, but Derick Brassard had Kessel on his line Monday.
Here were the full lines and pairings from the practice, which was a signature Sullivan high-tempo session that featured no absences …
Guentzel – Crosby – Hörnqvist
Rust – Malkin – Simon
Sheary – Brassard – Kessel
Aston-Reese – Sheahan – Kühnhackl
Dumoulin – Letang
Määttä – Schultz
Oleksiak – Ruhwedel
Also of note, Sullivan said Daniel Sprong is “an option” for the Penguins for the rest of the playoffs. Sprong took the warmup Sunday in Washington, a first this spring.