The Pittsburgh Penguins have just 10 games remaining in the 2020-21 NHL season, and the Penguins injury updates are getting better with each day, including Kasperi Kapanen and Brandon Tanev progressing.
On Thursday morning, head coach Mike Sullivan said that Kasperi Kapanen would be a game-time decision. Kapanen has missed the last 13 games with a foot injury after he tried to block a clearing attempt with his skate.
“Today was my first day … I feel good. I feel like myself. Whenever there’s a foot injury, we take extra precaution to come back,” Kapanen said on Wednesday. “Once I come back, I want to start where I left off. I felt like I was playing my game and was playing good.”
Kapanen, 24, has 21 points (7g, 14a) in 30 games this season. The Penguins acquired him last August, shortly after the Penguins were eliminated from the Qualifying Round and NHL Return bubble in Toronto. In addition to swapping prospects, the Penguins gave Toronto their first-round lottery pick (15th overall) for Kapanen.
Sullivan seemed to hedge before listing Kapanen as a game-time decision. One practice may not be enough. However, the team usually announces roster moves at 5 p.m. on game days. If Kapanen is a possibility, we will know then.
Sullivan also said winger Brandon Tanev skated for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on April 3.
“That’s a big step for his progression,” Sullivan said.
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall recently said he did not expect Tanev back before the end of the regular season. Tanev missed 14 games this season, including the last eight with his current injury. He was injured against the Boston Bruins and was the third Penguins player this season to be significantly injured against Boston.
Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger were the others.
Tanev, 29, was scoring at a career pace before he suffered the injury against Boston. He had 16 points (7g, 9a) in 32 games. Last season, Tanev also finished 18th in Selke Trophy voting.
The Penguins face the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.