Pittsburgh Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith participated at the team’s morning skate Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena.
DeSmith did not practice Tuesday, and coach Mike Sullivan said then that DeSmith was held out mostly for precautionary reasons as he was being evaluated for an upper-body injury. DeSmith was the final player to get on the ice Wednesday.
A third goaltender, presumably EBUG Michael Chaisson, also participated Wednesday, begging the question of whether DeSmith would be available when the Penguins face the Calgary Flames for their traditional Thanksgiving Eve home game. Sullivan, though, deemed DeSmith “fine,” so he presumably will back up Tristan Jarry. Sullivan named Jarry the starter.
DeSmith is 3-4-1 this season with a 2.88 goals-against average and ,909 save percentage. He recently had a stretch where he was getting the nod over Tristan Jarry as Jarry struggled some. DeSmith played in the Penguins’ most recent game, a 5-3 win Sunday at Chicago, which was the second night in a back-to-back situation. He gave up three goals on 32 shots as the team wrapped up a 3-0 road trip.
The others who participated in the optional skate Wednesday were forwards Brock McGinn, Rickard Rakell, Kasperi Kapanen, Ryan Poehling and Evgeni Malkin; defenesmen Chad Ruhwedel, Marcus Petterson and P.O Joseph; and Jarry.
Malkin doesn’t always participate in optional skates, but perhaps he wanted to burn off some nervous energy. He will be feted in a pregame ceremony after playing in his 1,000th game Sunday.
“I’m sure it will be emotional for him … for all the right reasons,” Sullivan said of Malkin. “He’s so deserving of all the recognition for his accomplishment.
“I’m sure he’ll be amped up for the game.”