Most good teachers know that they won’t teach children anything on Christmas Eve. As visions of Red Rider pistols and GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip dance through their heads, sometimes the best you can do is let the class let off steam, which the Penguins head coach did. from Pittsburgh, Mike Sullivan, Tuesday morning.
First, the injury updates: Injured players, including Evgeni Malkin, remained in non-contact white jerseys. Brian Boyle returned to full participation. Skills trainer Ty Hennes was back in training after his COVID protocol. He could be heard barking.
“His warm-up exercises are effective,” Boyle said with a laugh.
Jason Zucker and Chad Ruhwedel had days of maintenance. It was Zucker’s second consecutive day of maintenance.
“They’re a bit stoned so it was a good opportunity to rest them a bit,” said head coach Mike Sullivan.
The NHL abruptly decided to postpone the rest of the games this week, including the Penguins’ home game Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, and start the holiday break earlier. The teams will not play again until December 27.
So the Penguins had a little or a lot of fun Tuesday with three types of scrums. They played in short ice 3v3, dual net 3v3, and finally, a full ice 5v5 for about 10 minutes.
Evgeni Malkin was the clown of the class having fun in his first somewhat competitive job since last season. You’ll be happy to know that during Malkin’s 5v5 shifts, no one came near him. No one within a Siberian mile. He also stood back as a defender out of respect for his situation, but the smile on his face was impossible to ignore.
Malkin would hit the glass, celebrate every goal, pump his stick over his head and laugh like a child at… Christmas. After months away from the squad, his size is striking. Sometimes you forget how well the 6-foot-3, maybe 4, center is compared to his teammates. It might be a bit bulkier too, or maybe it’s my perception because I haven’t seen it in this context for a long time. Others in the media room didn’t seem to agree or notice.
However, Casey DeSmith denied Malkin on his breakaway in the 3v3 double-net drill:
In case you’d like to see one of Malkin’s 5v5 shifts, we’ve got that, too. You will notice that he had the left wing to himself.
Someone is covering Malkin! But not too closely.
Coming up to PHN, introspective Brian Boyle discussed his second chance, and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby reflected on the long-term implications if he doesn’t return to the Olympics. Shelly Anderson and I are sharing the stories of the week now.