Cranberry Twp, PA — The Pittsburgh Penguins weight room was a crowded place during Penguins games. Five forwards and a defenseman watched the team lose to the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday night as the Penguins injuries continued to mount. Injured players often get a workout during the game, so the weight room was elbow to elbow. However, the Penguins finally got some good news Monday as a couple of forwards returned to the ice when center Nick Bjugstad and Bryan Rust hit the ice.
Penguins forward Jared McCann also participated in practice on Monday.
Rust and Bjugstad confirmed they will make the trip, though Rust won’t play on the Florida swing of the road trip.
“I can’t play in the first two games, but I’m hopeful I can play by Saturday,” Rust told PHN.
Rust was injured in the final preseason game and has not yet played a regular-season game. His hand was absent any brace or medical device.
Bjugstad is ahead of schedule. His lower body injury was expected to keep him out of the lineup for a couple or a few more weeks. He may return sooner than later, but this upcoming trip sounds a bit too optimistic. Bjugstad was technically a full participant for part of the practice, but neither he or the team are ready to overdo it.
“Yeah, just a little contact (at the end of practice). I got a few bumps which is good,” Bjugstad said. “Practices the day before games aren’t physical. It’s more about having confidence in myself.”
Jared McCann wasn’t available for comment, so his status is unofficial but he was a full participant in practice.
Malkin, Galchenyuk, Dumoulin
Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk skated with the Penguins skills coach earlier Monday morning.
“You’re testing my memory,” Mike Sullivan joked as he was asked for an update on a myriad of injured players. Neither Malkin or Galchenyuk will travel with the team. Malkin has been out since the second game of the season. Galchenyuk has been out since the third game.
Malkin had one goal in two games and had tantalized both himself and fans with a standout training camp with a stated desire to, “show everyone I’m not done.”
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin has also been ruled out for Tuesday and Wednesday.