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Penguins Practice: Pettersson Makes an Appearance



CRANBERRY — Marcus Pettersson was back on the ice before the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 20-minute practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex today.

That doesn’t mean he’ll be rejoining the lineup anytime soon, however.

In fact, it’s a certainty that he won’t.

Pettersson, who has been out since March 20, is on the Long-Term Injured list, which means he is obliged to sit out at least 10 games and 24 days.

Consequently, he won’t be eligible to play again until the regular-season finale April 13 in Columbus.

“He’s making progress,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think he’s feeling pretty good, in all the reports I’m getting from our medical team. … We’re hopeful it won’t be too long here before he rejoins the team (for regular practices.) He’s making progress, and we’re encouraged by it.”

Before the full-team practice began, Pettersson and fellow defenseman Jan Rutta went through a session with assistant coach Ty Hennes on the second rink at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Rutta, who has missed the past seven games and 22 of the past 33 because of injuries, subsequently took part in the full-team session, albeit while wearing a white, no-contact jersey.

“It suggests progress,” Sullivan said. “His next step, obviously, is to participate in a full capacity. But the fact that he’s joined the team is real encouraging.”

Rutta is on conventional injured-reserve and, unlike Pettersson, would be eligible to rejoin the lineup at any time.

Mix and Match

Sullivan revamped the top two defense pairings earlier this week, putting Brian Dumoulin back with Kris Letang and deploying P.O Joseph with Jeff Petry.

The early results of those pairings, he said, have been positive.

“I think (Joseph and Petry) played well,” Sullivan said. “They’re both good players. We juggled the combinations, just to try to get more balance and get a little bit more reliability back there. I think it’s worked. … It’s stabilized the group back there. At least, that’s how we felt.”

Taking Aim

Mikael Granlund and Alex Nylander, who have combined to score one goal in 20 man-games since joining the Pittsburgh Penguins, were on the ice nearly a half-hour before practice.

They spent part of that time feeding passes to one another, with the recipient then launching a shot toward an empty net.

Several went in.