Injured Pittsburgh Penguins’ forwards Chris Conner, Evgeni Malkin, and Joe Vitale all reportedly skated before the team’s morning practice Friday – according to head coach Dan Bylsma and the Pens’ Twitter handle.
Kunitz had excused absence from practice. He is NOT injured. Malkin, Conner, Vitale skate prior to practice, per #Pens coach Bylsma
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 11, 2014
Malkin, who was given a 2-3 week timetable due to a foot ailment, was cleared by doctors on Monday, and has skated in various ice-sessions this week. He still remains without a possible return date, however, there’s plenty of time between now and the playoffs, so it’s likely Malkin will be reinserted when they commence.
In 60 games this season, Malkin’s collected 72 points (23G, 49A) and skated to a plus-10 rating.
Vitale hasn’t played since Mar. 20 against the Detroit Red Wings due to a mid-body injury, and like Malkin, has no set return date. Vitale returned to practice on Mar. 31, however, he had to have his ailment examined again in Pittsburgh on Apr. 5, and has since just been skating outside of team activities.
Vitale has missed the last 11 games.
After undergoing surgery to repair a broken hand in early January, Conner was on the verge of returning to the lineup, but unfortunately broke his foot in practice on Mar. 9. He was given a timetable of 4-6 weeks for recovery.
Despite Conner’s inevitable return, his lineup spot is questionable. Already with a number of forwards currently rostered, it’s hard to imagine Conner performing for Pittsburgh again this season.
Conner’s missed the last 38 contests, and hasn’t played since Dec. 31.
In 19 games this season, Conner’s collected five points (4G, 1A) and skated to a minus-3 rating.