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Penguins Practice: Eller & Puljujarvi Miss Workout; More Power Play Work



Pittsburgh Penguins pratice, Sidney Crosby, Erik Karlsson

CRANBERRY, Twp — The newest potential Pittsburgh Penguins winger was absent from practice Monday. Jesse Puljujarvi signed a free-agent tryout on Sunday and reported for practice but missed his second day.

Penguins third-line center Lars Eller was the other unexpected absence.

Puljujuarvi had double-hip resurfacing surgery over the summer and was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Carolina Hurricanes. He participated in Sunday’s practice, even rotating on the Penguins’ top line.

Eller, 34, has played in all 26 games this season, registering eight points (3-5-8), and is a plus-2.

Also absent for the fifth straight day was Penguins winger Bryan Rust. Coach Mike Sullivan said on Sunday that Rust was still being evaluated for an upper-body injury. He left the Penguins 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning after two periods. Drew O’Connor has filled the top-line spot in practice and against the Florida Panthers in another 3-1 loss on Friday.

Rickard Rakell and Noel Acciari, who have begun skating with assistant coach Ty Hennes before practice, did not participate. Nor did Matt Nieto. Rakell remains on LTIR. Acciari and Nieto are on IR.

With the current injuries, the Penguins are maxed at 23 players and, according to, are about $3.5 million into their LTIR pool. Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas is holding a press conference Monday at 12:30 p.m. Pittsburgh Hockey Now will cover it.

Power Play:

For the second straight day, Penguins rookie Valtteri Puustinen was on the top power-play unit with Erik Karlsson, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel. Kris Letang was back at the point of PP2.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now will update the story after coach Mike Sullivan speaks to the media following practice or if Dubas updates the injured players.

UPDATE: Sullivan said Eller was not feeling well, and the team excused him from practice. It’s not expected to linger. Regarding Puljujarvi’s absence, Sullivan noted his serious hip surgery in the offseason. Puljujarvi’s tryout will be a mix of on-ice and off-ice workouts “as he reacclimates to a hockey environment.”

Sullivan also updated the status of Bryan Rust, who is out week-to-week. Get the additional Rust and Penguins news here.