Perhaps the Pittsburgh Penguins shouldn’t speak too loudly. The Penguins injuries and situation may continue to improve in the near future. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan offered a full account of the situation after practice on Monday.
Only one of the Penguins injured players participated in practice. Defenseman Juuso Riikola upgraded from the non-contact sweater that he wore on Friday to become a full participant.
Neither Penguins forward Jared McCann, nor defenseman Brian Dumoulin participated in practice but did skate on their own, again.
“Brian Dumoulin, Evan Rodrigues, and Jared McCann all skated (Monday) morning. They haven’t joined the taxi squad but they are skating on their own,” Sullivan said. “Jared McCann will travel with the team.”
McCann’s travel status could mean he will join practice in the coming week. However, Sullivan did not provide a timetable for his return to practice or game action.
This season, McCann has five points (3g, 2a) in 11 games. Dumoulin has been particularly affected by injuries over the past two seasons. He missed most of last season and played just seven games this season.
The Penguins injuries forced coaches to juggle the defense pairs in Dumoulin’s absence. Currently, P.O. Joseph is playing on the top pair with Kris Letang. Before his injury, Riikola also skated with Letang.
Defenseman Mike Matheson has been generating offense and has claimed his position in the top-four. Matheson scored the game-tying goal on Saturday against the New York Islanders and set up a few goals last Thursday in the Penguins win.
“Dumoulin and Evan Rodrigues are not (traveling). They’re going to stay back (in Pittsburgh) with (Skills Coach) Ty Hennes,” Sullivan said. “Ty is going to skate them and continue to their return to play rehab on the ice.”
The Penguins fourth line has struggled this season. PHN detailed the Penguins fourth-line struggles and lack of ice time.
Sullivan said Riikola is getting closer to being a game-time decision. The Penguins head coach does not confirm when a player will return to the lineup but rather lists all players who are available as game-time decisions.
The Penguins face the Washington Capitals at the Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.