Matheson and Zucker start skating; Kapanen is gaining ground
After a day off Saturday, the Penguins resumed training Sunday morning at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Here are the updates…
– Matheson, Zucker start skating
Before the start of the session, the defender Mike Matheson and winger jason zucker skated alone with skills coach Ty Hennes.
“Obviously the fact that they’re on the ice is a next step for them, so that’s encouraging from our perspective,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “From a status standpoint, it doesn’t change anything. The progression to return to play is to start with Ty, then join the team, then compete at full capacity. We’ll see how that timeline unfolds.”
Video: Coach Sullivan speaks with the media
The day after Matheson recorded over 19 minutes in Pittsburgh’s 6-1 loss to New Jersey on Feb. 25, it was announced he would be out week-to-week with a top injury. from the body.
Meanwhile, Zucker has been out since undergoing a successful repair of a core muscle injury on January 25. The lower body injury was nagging him before the holidays, but Zucker tried to play through it, which Sullivan says only speaks to his character.
“We were pretty stoned at the time and we had a depleted roster, and I think Zuck was gutting it here, game in and game out, to try to give us bodies to put in the roster that could help us win. games,” Sullivan said.
Coming off the break, Zucker could only appear in one of Pittsburgh’s next 10 games after the team returned to play on January 2 – scoring twice in their epic 5-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Jan. 17 – before it was decided surgery would be his best option.
“We all love Zuck. He’s a big part of this team, and it’s good to see him back,” winger Kasperi Kapanen noted. “He played that game in Vegas and then having a backhand still sucks, but it’s good to see he’s making progress. We missed him and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
– Domingo participating in its own right; maintenance day for Malkin
The Penguins practiced with three goalies, while Louis Domingo, who has missed the last 18 games with a lower-body injury, joined his teammates. Sullivan confirmed the keeper, who turns 30 today, was a full participant.
Domingue appeared in a game for Pittsburgh on Jan. 15 in San Jose when Casey DeSmith was injured, making 40 saves in their 2-1 overtime win over the Sharks. Domingue was about to make another start on January 20 against Ottawa when he was injured during game day practice that morning after being shot inside the foot.
Yevgeny Malkin was the only player absent from practice on the team, and Sullivan said he had a maintenance day. Evan Rodrigues skated in his place in the best power-play unit with Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust. The team did not race online.
The Penguins will practice again Monday morning before hosting Florida on Tuesday.
– Kapanen is gaining ground
One player who plans to use this training time to work on scoring chances is Kapanen, who has been mired in the drought. The 25-year-old winger has been goalless in the last 16 games.
“I’m just going through a crisis that I’ve never really gone through before, so I just have to get through it,” he said. “I just have to stay on the ice longer, practice some things and do some reps. »
Video: Kapanen speaks with the media
The good news is that Kapanen and his coach feel his game is headed in the right direction, especially since he was brought back to Malkin’s line with Danton Heinen. Kapanen had an assist last Sunday at Columbus and had another assist Thursday against the Lightning to give him points in two of his last three outings.
“I think their game in Tampa was really good,” Sullivan said. “Their line was great all night, and he was a big part of that. So I think he is gaining ground. If he continues to use his speed as he can, he should shoot the puck and go to the net. he does that, I think he will help us.”
Although Kapanen has said he will continue to push to be more of a factor, he is also not losing sight of the bigger picture.
“Obviously I want to produce and score goals and do everything I can to help the team win,” he said. “But look, if I don’t score another goal this season and the team keeps winning and we make the playoffs and we have a good run, that’s what I’m here for. I like the way our team is playing right now.”