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Penguins Injuries: Kapanen Starts Skating, Gaudreau OUT Week to Week

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Kasperi Kapanen, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins seemingly are not permitted to get too much good news when it comes to injuries. One of the most battered lineups in the NHL, the Penguins got some good news, but more bad news on Tuesday.

First, the bad news. Depth center Frederick Gaudreau, who was making a run at staying in the NHL after being exiled by the Nashville Predators to the AHL for all of last season and by the Penguins at the beginning of this season, is the latest Penguins injury casualty.

According to head coach Mike Sullivan, Gaudreau is out week to week.

“So Freddy Gaudreau, his status right now is week to week with a lower-body injury,” Sullivan said.

Gaudreau had four points (1g, 3a) in six games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before his recall. In 13 games with the NHL club, Gaudreau also had four points (1g, 3a) in 13 games and was in the process of solidifying his place in the lineup.

With the spate of Penguins injuries, Gaudreau was playing the third-line center, including April 8 when he won 11 of 12 faceoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got good news on Tuesday involved Kasperi Kapanen. 

Sullivan said Kapanen skated for the first time since suffering what appeared to be an injury to his foot on March 24. Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour slammed the clearing attempt off the wall. The puck hit Kapanen’s skate, and the winger has not played since.

On Monday, GM Ron Hextall estimated Kapanen’s return to be in the 10-14 day window.

Kapanen has 21 points (7g, 14a) in 30 games and is a plus-12. He also has three game-winning goals. 

In addition to Kapanen, who hit the ice on Tuesday, Evgeni Malkin continued skating on his own, separate from the team, as well. Malkin has 24 points (8g, 16a) in 29 games. Hextall also said he expects Malkin to return before the end of the regular season but admitted Malkin’s injury is difficult to judge.

“Geno skated this morning and is continuing his progress. Kappy skated this morning for the first time, and we’ll see how he responds to that,” Sullivan said. “But certainly that’s encouraging from (Kapanen’s) standpoint. Tanev’s is still continuing his rehab off the ice.”

On Monday, Hextall said he did not expect Tanev to return before the end of the regular season due to his upper-body injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins canceled their practice on Tuesday after the team received COVID-19 vaccines on Monday.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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