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(UPDATED) Penguins Practice: Zucker Returns; Archibald Evaluated for Injury



Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker, listed as being out week to week because of a lower-body injury, went on the ice with skills assistant Ty Hennes a half-hour before the team’s practice was scheduled to begin Monday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Missing, however, was forward Josh Archibald. He appeared to get banged up a couple times Sunday in the Penguins‘ loss at Carolina. Coach Mike Sullivan said Archibald is being evaluated for a lower-body injury, with no timetable established yet.

As you can see in the below video, Zucker skated pretty gingerly, at least at first. He did some light stickhandling and shooting. But after warming up with his teammates when they trickled onto the ice, he remained for the start of practice. He was not wearing a non-contact jersey, and he took Archibald’s spot on the fourth line. He did not participate in special teams drills, however.

The reports after practice were a little confusing, or at least they made it hard to connect the dots. Sullivan and Zucker each said the winger’s status has not changed — even though he was close to a full participant in practice just days after being listed as week to week.

“We’ll see how he responds,” Sullivan said of Zucker. “But obviously it’s real encouraging that he’s on the ice. That’s a great first step.”

Zucker acknowledged that he was a little tentative in the early minutes of his time on the ice Monday.

“You’re always trying to test things out, be a little bit slow when you first get out there, make sure everything feels OK and you’re not putting yourself in bad spot to re-injure anything,” he said. “And then was able to ramp it up from there.”

Zucker, somewhat surprisingly, said nothing has changed in terms of how long he might be out.

“As of right now, the timetable hasn’t changed,” he said, but, like Sullivan, he put some import on being able to return to practice.

“It was nice just to be out there with the guys again,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being back, hopefully as soon as possible.”

Zucker left a game the previous Monday, then returned. He declined this Monday to confirm whether the issue was a blocked shot.

It was later last week that he was ruled to be out for some time, or “longer term,” as Sullivan put it. Perhaps not. We will see.

The lines and pairings:

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell

Danton Heinen-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust

Brock McGinn-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen

Ryan Poehling-Teddy Blueger-Jason Zucker

(Drew O’Connor)

Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang

Brian Dumoulin-Jan Rutta

P.O Joseph-Chad Ruhwedel

(Mark Friedman)


Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson