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(Updated) Penguins Practice: Malkin Excused, is ‘Fine’; Joseph Returns



Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin

CRANBERRY — Evgeni Malkin was excused from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ practice Monday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex for “personal reasons,” Mike Sullivan said.

“He’s fine” Sullivan added.

Malkin’s spot between Jason Zucker and Rickard Rakell on the second line was filled by Teddy Blueger during the workout.

Blueger is on the Long-Term Injured list and has not played this season. The Penguins have not announced a target date for him to return.

“Teddy’s at the point where it’s reactionary, day-to-day, depending on how he responds to different stimulus … whether it be in the weight room or on the ice,” Sullivan said.  “We’ll take the advice of our medical staff. When he gets cleared to play, we’ll try to put him in a position to be successful.”

Filip Hallander, who missed the Penguins’ 5-4 overtime loss in Montreal Saturday because of illness, also did not take part in the workout Monday. Sullivan said he is being evaluated.

Defenseman P.O Joseph. who missed the past two games because of an unspecified injury, was a full participant in the practice and still was on the ice long after it ended, working with Kris Letang.

Personnel combinations

With Joseph back in the mix, the Penguins have seven defensemen and generally rotated them throughout the workout.

Their forward lines were unchanged from the Montreal game (with the aforementioned exception of Blueger filling in for Malkin):

Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker — Teddy Blueger — Rickard Rakell

Brock McGinn — Jeff Carter — Danton Heinen

Kasperi Kapanen — Ryan Poehling — Josh Archibald

With Malkin absent, the No. 1 power play featured Crosby, Letang, Rust, Guentzel and Rakell, while the second unit included Zucker, Carter, Heinen, Marcus Pettersson and Jeff Petry.

Assessing Jarry’s game

No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry has lost five games in a row after winning his first four starts of the season, and the coaching staff clearly expects more from him.

That was evident when Casey DeSmith started two of the three games on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ just-completed road trip.

“I think Tristan is capable of being an elite goaltender in this league,” Sullivan said. “It’s our job, as a coaching staff, to work and support him and help him capture that very best game. … We’d like him to be a bit better. We can say that about a lot of our players at this point.”

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20 days ago

I’m sorry but Rust’s inconsistencies needs to drop him off top line and even push him to the 3rd. Maybe they should sit or rest Letang too since Joseph’s coming back. Letang’s been struggling out their on defense and makes bad decisions a lot lately. Time to start coaching and playing hard ball with these stars.

20 days ago

I d like to see Heinen tried on the second line with Malkin and Zucker. He knows how to get in the open areas and bet he would’ve finished more plays and scoring chances unlike Rust missing the net.

20 days ago

Jarry is 27 and DeSmith is 31. It’s getting late for Jarry to become elite. Neither goalie has proven they can be a franchise caliber goalie.