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(UPDATED) Penguins Practice: Jarry Absent; Guentzel Optimistic



Pittsburgh Penguins, Tristan Jarry

CRANBERRY — The Pittsburgh Penguins gathered at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex Sunday afternoon for their first practice after the NHL all-star break, and while injured goalie Tristan Jarry was in the building, he wasn’t on the ice.

Not for the 45-minute team workout, anyway, although he did have one with goalie coach Andy Chiodo before the full-team session.

GM Ron Hextall said Jarry still is listed as day-to-day, and indicated that he does not expect Jarry’s absence to be lengthy.

“He made improvements over the break,” Hextall said. “I think the break probably did him some good. I know he did some rehab on his own. … We’re going to monitor his progress, day-by-day, from here, but we certainly don’t expect him to be out long.”

Jarry missed the three games leading up to the break. His status for the Penguins’ game against Colorado Tuesday at 7:08 p.m. has not been announced, but the Penguins summoned Dustin Tokarski from their farm team in Wilkes-Barre Saturday.

He and Casey DeSmith were the goalies during Sunday’s practice.

Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lone representative in the all-star game, took part in the workout. Players who were in the all-star game often are excused from practice for a day or two after they return to their club.

Defenseman Jan Rutta, who also was on the ice before the team practice, and Jarry were the only players who sat out the team session.

Forwards Josh Archibald and Kasperi Kapanen were full participants and Mike Sullivan projected that they will be “game-time decisions” for the Avalanche game.

Guentzel: Team can do ‘something special’

Having a week off seemed to refresh the Penguins, physically and mentally.

And while they are barely clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they seem convinced that they are capable of elevating their game so that they can collect points on a more regular basis.

“We have to play a full 60 minutes,” Jake Guentzel said. “We just can’t beat ourselves, with our details and the stuff we’re doing. If we just take care of the puck and manage the game and make sure to play a full 60, I like our chances. We just have to get back to doing that and defending first, and the offense will come.”

Mind you, inconsistency has been a recurring issue for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. It’s not a question of whether they’re capable of performing at a high level, but whether they’re willing to make the commitment required to make that happen.

“We’ve done it in the past,” Guentzel said. “And we’ve done it at times this year, where we’re tough to play against and we’re on the right side of the puck, all over the ice. … We like our group here, and we feel like we can do something special.”

Hitting the reset button

Sullivan said he thought the Penguins had “great energy” during the workout, and that he had a pretty simple message for his players when they gathered before the practice started.

“This is a great opportunity for us to hit the reset button,” Sullivan said he told them. “We still have control of our own destiny.”

They also have control of their workout schedule, to some extent, and Sullivan hinted that days off might not be quite as common as they have been to this point of the season.

While rest is critical for the oldest team in the league, so is practicing enough to stay sharp.

“We’re hopeful that we’re going to get a number of practices here coming up that we can continue to build on some of the good habits that we have developed,” he said. “When we look at our schedule the last few months, we haven’t had a lot of practice time.

“I think that, over the course of time, does have implications. That’s not a challenge that any other team in the league doesn’t face. That’s one of the challenges, or demands, of playing an NHL schedule. But I do think, with this group in particular, that’s an important aspect of building consistency, building the right habits.”

Personnel combinations

Here are the lines Sullivan deployed during the workout: