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(Updated) Penguins Practice: Pettersson Returns, Malkin Leaves Early

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Pittsburgh Penguins Injuries, Jake Guentzel
Pittsburgh Penguins Marcus Pettersson: Photo by Dan Kingerski, All Rights Reserved. No Use without Permission

Marcus Pettersson skated with the primary unit, Evgeni Malkin left practice early, Jared McCann is out, and Mike Matheson shaved his beard. In other words, it was just a usual Wednesday practice for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The long COVID break reached day four, again, on Wednesday. The Penguins played their first game in five days on Saturday, and because of COVID postponements by other teams, the Penguins won’t play again until they meet the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Again.

In the long absences, Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson has been getting healthy. The lanky left-side defenseman was blindsided by Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie in the third game of the season and has not played since.

Pettersson joined practice but in a gray non-contact jersey and sparingly participated in drills. It was his first practice with the main group since the injury.

Pettersson is in the first year of a five-year, $20.125 million contract he signed in January 2020. The Swedish defenseman is the second defenseman to return in the last seven days. Defenseman Mike Matheson also returned to the lineup late last week.

The Penguins currently have two LHD healthy enough for game action: P-O Joseph and Matheson. Pettersson would make three. Top-pair defenseman Brian Dumoulin suffered a lower-body injury two weeks ago and has not resumed skating.

Penguins winger Jared McCann remains absent. McCann was injured on Saturday against New York. The team has not been able to provide an update on his condition.

Zach Aston-Reese again practiced as a full participant on Wednesday. He’s been skating on the third line with his old linemates Teddy Blueger and Chris Tanev.

However, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin left practice early due to an eye issue. It didn’t sound serious.

“Geno left with an eye that was bothering him,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “Out of caution, we took him off the ice.”

And, Sullivan confirmed Jared McCann is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Since it took several days to diagnose, take that for what it is worth regarding McCann.

Pittsburgh Penguins Practice

The Penguins are working on the power play…again. They spent a solid 30 minutes on it Tuesday and resumed work on it on Wednesday.

He’s a full power-play shift from the top unit. Man, there isn’t even a spark in practice. Have a go:

 

Perhaps Brandon Tanev was anticipating some time on PP2 in front of the net. He seems just crazy enough to make it work. He was really getting after it until my camera started rolling. He still showed off some hands:

 

Check out our complete coverage of the Penguins GM and President of Hockey Operations hires:

The Little Stories and Great Quotes of Hextall, Burke Hire  (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Hextall, Burke and the Penguins Future; Will they Make the Big Trade? (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Puck Racism
Puck Racism
8 months ago

Dan,
I know you have already written an article about Pettersson being a trade chip when the Penguins D gets healthy. What are your thoughts on the Penguins trading him to Ottawa for Erik Gudbranson? He played well the last time he was with the Penguins and he has the ability to hold other teams accountable, something this team needs.
D pairs could be Dumoulin-Letang, Joseph-Marino, Matheson-Gudbranson.

D1VE
D1VE
8 months ago
Reply to  Puck Racism

Why would the Penguins bring back Gudbranson for such a vast overpay, especially considering how many defensemen the Penguins already employ?

If anything, should Pettersson be moved I’d imagine they look at a bonafide 3C, which Pettersson should net you.

The “grit” conversation is an old one that needs to go away.

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
8 months ago
Reply to  D1VE

How many injured players do the Penguins have right now? Yeah, they need more grit. Also, the Penguins need a defenseman that is capable of clearing the crease and Pettersson is to soft to do that. Pettersson is the new Maatta, the game moves to fast for him and he can’t decided what to do when he has the puck so he does nothing until the forecheck is all over him and then turns the puck over. The Penguins would be wise to move him before all of the other GMs realize that a road cone would provide the same… Read more »

D1VE
D1VE
8 months ago

I think you meant Brandon Tanev, not Chris Tanev. Unless the new Penguins brass made a cloak and dagger move without anyone knowing and put him in at wing?

Chase Ranson
Chase Ranson
8 months ago

You don’t like Grit watch when they play Boston and Washington they get pushed around like children and no one stands up for the players that get kicked around

D1VE
D1VE
8 months ago
Reply to  Chase Ranson

See, what you’re all referring to is wanting a deterrent, or in layman’s terms: an enforcer/a goon. Pittsburgh is a team currently built on speed and skill. GMJR doubled down on that by acquiring Zucker and Kapanen, and to a lesser extent resigning Rodrigues and trading for Matheson. (I’m not saying I agree with that move whatsoever, Hornqvist was my favorite player and for what he lacks in speed he makes up for in pretty much every other category) But the fact is, an enforcer style player just doesn’t fit the Penguins playstyle, and hasn’t for some time. Sure, Gudbranson… Read more »

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
8 months ago
Reply to  D1VE

Gudbranson is not a goon. He can play as well or better than Pettersson. And like Dan said, Tom Wilson was a non factor when Gudbranson was a Penguin. By all accounts he was well liked in the locker room so he wouldn’t be hurting the team dynamic.

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
8 months ago

Where is our Hornquist, Bonino type guys Tanev is the only one acting like them, wish Chris Tanev was on Pens. Some of these players gotta stop playing so soft – Malkin

D1VE
D1VE
8 months ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

Bonino was defensively responsible, and could chip in some goals. It also doesn’t hurt that his linemates could skate like the wind and, in Kessel’s case, could bury the puck in the net with the best of them.

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[…] During the Pittsburgh Penguins practice yesterday, the team welcomed back defenseman Marcus Pettersson returned. However, star forward Evgeni Malkin left practice early. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

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