Pittsburgh Penguins center Nick Bjugstad resumed skating on Saturday morning, at least a couple of weeks after skating stopped during his rehab program from core muscle surgery in November.
Bjugstad did not appear to skate hard and had frequent conversations with Penguins staff as he expanded his skating. PHN did not witness the entire skating program, but the final 10 minutes were gingerly, at best.
The Penguins 6-foot-5 center has played only 10 games this season and notched just one assist. The Penguins have been using a combination of AHL call-ups at center since Bjugstad went under the knife in mid-November. Bjugstad’s initial skating program began on or about Jan. 8, but recent updates have not included on-ice work.
Penguins forward Jared McCann joined Bjugstad for the final few minutes of his skate.
“Bjugy!” McCann said when asked about joining the workout. “A little Florida connection there, just trying to get him back and touching pucks,” McCann said as he pointed to his head to imply getting Bjugstad back into the mental flow, too. “It’s been a while.”
Also, Penguins winger Dominik Kahun was again at practice but again wore a gray non-contact jersey. Earlier this week, a source close to Kahun told PHN that Kahun hoped to be able to return on Sunday afternoon against Detroit, however, that would be doubtful without yet taking contact.
“I’m going 100% for sure. We’re going to figure out when I can go with contact and be ready to play,” said Kahun, who has been skating every day, even on off days. However, he hasn’t picked up any tips while being out of the lineup.
“Not really,” Kahun conceded. “When the guys are playing away, I watch the games, but at home, I do a workout. They’re playing great, they’re playing hard.”
Kahun has not played since he was concussed against Boston on Jan. 19. The German winger has 27 points (10g, 17a) in 48 games this season.
Pittsburgh Penguins Practice Drills:
After some skating warmup and odd-man rushes, the Penguins quickly got to business: Special Teams. The Penguins PP2 used the pinwheel in the slot, rather than a net-front presence, while PP1 featured Patric Hornqvist at the net in front of Matt Murray.
Practice concluded when PP2 slot pinwheel Jason Zucker ripped a wrist shot past Tristan Jarry.
That concluded the 25-minute practice.
After practice, the Penguins hosted several kids from the Make-A-Wish program and had a locker room setup for them in the actual locker room. Most of the kids were beaming in their full equipment, as one little guy walked over to Matt Murray for a serious fist bump before he smiled, immediately turned and marched towards the ice.
The same precocious little guy couldn’t hit the water bottle with a shot, so he skated into the net and punched it off the top of the cage. He wasn’t as tall as the crossbar, so he had to punch up.
Make every minute count. Good on him.