Mar 23, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) carries the puck into the offensive zone against the St. Louis Blues during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Blues won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pens Injury Report 4/8: Evgeni Malkin Skates

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins reportedly had a few names return to practice Tuesday – Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Olli Maatta, and Brooks Orpik – but are still without forwards Marcel Goc, Evgeni Malkin, and Joe Vitale – according to the Pens’ Twitter handle.

While Pittsburgh can probably find replacements for Goc and Vitale, they certainly can’t compensate for Malkin’s absence.

Head coach Dan Bylsma relayed to the media that Malkin skated on his own Monday and today – per the Pens’ Twitter handle – however, there’s no further information regarding his situation. Malkin was diagnosed with a foot ailment and given a timetable of 2-3 weeks for recovery back on Mar. 25.

It’s comforting to hear that Malkin is back to skating, but it’s a little concerning that Bylsma noted he did it “lightly.” With just three games left in the season, it would be alleviating to see Malkin suit up for one of those tilts, however, now it seems likely he’ll return in the playoffs.

In 60 games this season, Malkin’s collected 72 points (23G, 49A) and skated to a plus-10 rating.

Goc’s condition may be a bit more worrisome, considering the timing of his injury (Mar. 27) and how many games are left. Crashing awkwardly into the end-boards in a game against the Los Angeles Kings, Goc was given a timetable of three weeks to rehabilitate, and he could certainly miss at least the first-round of the playoffs.

In 12 games since coming over from Florida, Goc has dished out two helpers.

Vitale hasn’t performed since Mar. 20 against the Detroit Red Wings, however, he did return to full practice on Mar. 31. Confusing as to why he didn’t practice today, Bylsma said Vitale skated, and still in the process of figuring out when it’s right for him to play.

In 53 games this season, Vitale’s garnered 14 points (1G, 13A) and skated to a minus-1 rating. He’s tied his career-high for points in a season in 15 less outings.

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