After a day off Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins returned to practice Monday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex — minus three players. Forwards Kasperi Kapanen, Danton Heinen and Anthony Angello were not on the ice.
Coach Mike Sullivan afterward said those three players are ill, although it is non-COVID related. If any or all of them aren’t recovered enough to play Tuesday, the Penguins are expected to recall one forward or more from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. In fact, Sullivan said he thought such a move as a precaution seemed likely.
in fact, later in the afternoon forward Filip Hallander was listed on the Penguins’ online roster. We will see if that move is announced or whether he or others are actually needed on an emergency basis.
With three forwards out, there were just three intact lines involving the 10 forwards available at practice, and Sullivan said the coaches “had to make adjustments” in how the practice was structured and what drills the players did.
The lines looked like this:
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Rickard Rakell-Evgeni Malkin-Jeff Carter
Evan Rodrigues-Teddy Blueger-Brian Boyle (Radim Zohorna rotating in)
The defensemen were rotating in terms of pairings.
Winger Jason Zucker also was absent. Not surprising given that he was hurt Thursday at Minnesota, although there are indications it might not be serious. It seems unlikely he will play as soon as Tuesday. Winger Brock McGinn, who is on long term IR, skated before practice.
Sullivan said there still is not a definitive diagnosis for Zucker but could be by Tuesday. Sullivan said he spoke with Zucker Monday morning and that the veteran winger is in good spirits.
“He’s feeling better,” Sullivan said. “We’ll see where it goes.”
The Penguins are preparing for a big rematch of Saturday’s competitive 3-2 loss at Colorado, this time with the Avalanche traveling to Pittsburgh. The Penguins’ lineup for that game could become more clear depending on the status of the three forwards who did not practice Monday.