Penguins notebook: Malkin practices hard, still has pain
Center Evgeni Malkin still feels pain in his left leg.
Only a little bit, though.
“I'm a little bit weak, and (there is) a little bit (of) pain sometimes,” Malkin said Thursday after he participated fully in a Penguins practice at Consol Energy Center.
He worked drills with the first-team power play and took contact near the boards, but Malkin said he is at best a game-time decision to play Friday night at home against the New York Rangers.
“We'll see how it feels because it was (a) hard practice for my legs,” Malkin said.
He has missed eight consecutive games since crashing backward into the end-zone boards in a win Dec. 14 at Detroit. Despite missing 10 games overall because of injury, Malkin is third among Penguins with 41 points in 32 contests.
Rivalry on hold
Malkin said Russia's plan for him at the Olympics possibly has changed.
He said he believes there is a strong likelihood that winger Alex Ovechkin — Malkin's longtime rival — will be one of his wingers. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 30 goals. Malkin's 32 assists were tops at the time of his injury.
Malkin said he originally expected to have his best friend, Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto Maple Leafs), on his left wing. They played together for their Russian hometown Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League during the 2012-13 NHL lockout.
Ovechkin has totaled 62 goals in 86 games since Washington capitals coach Adam Oates switched him to right wing last season, but he may revert to his natural left wing for Russia.
Ovechkin and Malkin are not close, though their relationship has improved in recent years. They were the first Russians to go 1-2 at the NHL Entry Draft in 2004.
On Friday, coach Dan Bylsma finally will be permitted by USA Hockey to address the squad he will coach at the Olympics. However, he was allowed to talk about two particular Olympians on Thursday.
Of course, defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik also play for Bylsma with the Penguins.
“The players that were injured, are injured … there was a certain amount of respecting the body of work that they have done in the past or they had done this season,” Bylsma said, referring to eight games missed by Orpik (concussion) and the past 17 by Martin (tibia).
Martin, off crutches and hopeful of gaining skating clearance from doctors next week, said he will be ready for the Olympic tournament, which for Team USA starts Feb. 13 against Slovakia.
Winger Chris Conner is slated to have surgery on his broken left hand. He was injured Tuesday in a loss at New Jersey.
Conner, a regular on the third line since Nov. 27, scored four goals over that span.
The Penguins claimed veteran winger Taylor Pyatt off waivers, a move that was not related to Conner's injury, Bylsma said.
Pyatt appeared in 50 games with the Rangers dating to last season. The Penguins are his sixth NHL club in 14 seasons.
“We were looking to add an NHL forward with size to our lineup and have him come in and do that,” Bylsma said of the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Pyatt.
Pyatt, 32, has scored 136 goals in his 13-year NHL career.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- Lapierre eager to make mark with Penguins
- For Penguins coach Johnston, it’s a matter of substance over style
- Capitals dominate overmatched Penguins in win at Verizon Center
- Penguins notebook: Johnston pleased with Downie’s all-around play
- Penguins get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
- Crosby banned from Jets game because he missed All-Star Game
- Fleury’s All-Star play has coincided with joy of being a father
- Rossi: Crosby’s debt to NHL paid in full
- Penguins’ Crosby receives injection for lower-body injury
- Penguins notebook: Crosby understands NHL’s reasoning for ban