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)