The pandemic continues to wreak havoc. Center Evgeni Malkin is the latest Pittsburgh Penguins player to be put into COVID-19 protocol, the team announced Monday.
It is not known whether Malkin has symptoms or exactly when he tested positive. Those answers, and other updates, might come later Monday. The team, coming out of the All-Star break, is scheduled to practice in the late afternoon in Boston in advance of a game there Tuesday against the Bruins. The Penguins have lost four straight.
Malkin, in 12 games after having offseason knee surgery, has five goals, 13 points.
It should be noted that the NHL’s COVID rules are changing now on the other side of the All-Star break. Players with no symptoms are no longer required to have regular testing.
Another change on this side of the break is that the taxi squad has gone away. So the Penguins have recalled two forwards, Michael Chaput and Valtteri Puustinen, from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
Here is the full news release from the team:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forwards Michael Chaput and Valtteri Puustinen from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.
Forward Evgeni Malkin has been placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol List.
Puustinen, 22, leads all WBS skaters in his first professional season in North America with 27 points (13G-14A) in 40 games. His 13 goals, 14 assists and four power-play goals all rank second on WBS. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound native of Kuopio, Finland spent the 2020-21 season with HPK of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, recording 41 points (21G-20A) in 51 games. His 21 goals led all HPK skaters and were tied for eighth in the league, while his 41 points were second-most on HPK. Puustinen, who was selected in the seventh round (203rd overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, is looking to become the first member of Pittsburgh’s 2019 draft class, and just the fourth player selected after the fourth round that year, to see NHL action.
Chaput, 29, has appeared in 25 games for WBS this season, recording 12 points (3G-9A). The Ile Bizard, Quebec native spent the 2020-21 season in the Arizona Coyotes organization, spending the majority on the team’s taxi squad. He’s played in 182 career NHL games spanning eight seasons with Arizona, Montreal, Vancouver and Columbus. The 6-foot-2 forward has played parts of 10 AHL seasons, split between WBS, Springfield, Lake Erie, Utica, Laval and Tuscan totaling 413 games with 271 points (112G-159A).
The Penguins return to action Tuesday, February 8 in Boston as they take on the Bruins at 7:00 PM at TD Garden.