Alex Galchenyuk resumes practicing with the Penguins
Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk resumed practicing for the first time in a week Wednesday in Cranberry.
Skating primarily on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Tanev, Galchenyuk reported feeling good in his recovery from an undisclosed injury. While he has skated on his own (or with a coach) before practice, he had not worked with his teammates since participating in a morning skate Sept. 25.
“It’s been some time,” Galchenyuk said. “Skating on my own and testing it out, but it definitely cannot compare to being out there with the guys.”
Acquired in an offseason trade which sent popular forward Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes, the injury limited Galchenyuk, 25, to one game and one power-play goal during the preseason. His status appears optimistic but uncertain for Thursday’s season-opening home contest against the Buffalo Sabres.
“I thought he had a good practice,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He reported to us that he felt strong. Obviously, we’ll see how he responds overnight. I would imagine he’ll be a game-time decision.
Galchenyuk’s lone preseason appearance saw him play on forward Malkin’s line primarily. During a 4-1 home win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sept. 19, they nearly connected on a even-strength two-on-one sequence.
Malkin is eager to play games of consequence with his new left winger.
“I hope he’s playing,” Malkin said. “It’s so much fun playing with him.”
Malkin dismissed any concern over limited playing time with Galchenyuk during the preseason.
“We have a lots of time during the (regular) season,” Malkin said. “I worked with him in (the) summer. A couple of practices, we skated together. He missed last week but I think we’re fine. I know how he plays. We talk to each other. He’s a very smart player.”
Galchenyuk’s intellect include a fluency in three languages, including Russian. How might the Magnitogorsk-born Malkin ask for the puck from Galchenyuk?
“Same. ‘Give me puck.’ ”
Sullivan said forward Sidney Crosby, who was injured during the preseason finale against the Sabres on Saturday, is expected to play on Thursday.
The team’s lines and pairings in practice were:
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Alex Galchenyuk – Evgeni Malkin – Brandon Tanev
Jared McCann – Nick Bjugstad – Dominik Kahun
Zach Aston-Reese – Teddy Blueger – Dominik Simon
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Jack Johnson – Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson – Erik Gudbranson
John Marino, Juuso Riikola and Chad Ruhwedel rotated on a fourth defensive pairing.
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .