Fourth-liner winger Drew O’Connor, who sat out the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-1 victory at Detroit Saturday because of an unspecified injury, was on the ice for their 40-minute practice at PPG Paints Arena today.
So, for that matter, was everyone else currently on the major-league roster, including injured defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Dmitry Kulikov and center Nick Bonino.
Kulikov was working on the No. 3 defense pairing, with Jan Rutta during drills, while Bonino was in O’Connor’s usual spot with Jeff Carter and Josh Archibald.
Although coach Mike Sullivan was noncommittal about whether either will be in the lineup for the Penguins’ regular-season home finale against Chicago Tuesday at 7:38 p.m., Kulikov seemed particularly upbeat about his prospects of playing then.
O’Connor was wearing a white (no-contact) jersey, which suggests his injury was caused by a high hit during the Penguins’ 4-1 victory against Minnesota last Thursday.
His status for the Blackhawks game is not known.
Here are the forward lines and defense pairings used at the practice:
The start of practice was delayed about 20 minutes — and the workout presumably was held at PPG Paints Arena — because of the taking of the annual team photo.
Yes, Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke had his tie untied when the picture was taken and, as in pregame warmups, Evgeni Malkin was the last player to leave the ice when the players adjourned to the locker room to switch from game sweaters to practice jerseys.
But, no, Alex Nylander was not brought back from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on emergency recall to appear in the photograph. Or for any other reason.
Today’s practice wasn’t the only thing that will start a bit later than usual this week.
The Penguins’ game against the Blackhawks will get underway at 7:38 p.m., a half-hour later than usual.
The switch was not made for national television (there will only be local broadcasts in both markets) and several team officials said they were not aware of why the start time had been pushed back, but it apparently stems from a league rule mandating that teams have at least 22 1/2 hours between starting times. Chicago’s game against Minnesota tonight is to commence at 9:08 Eastern.