Zucker & Matheson Skate, Malkin takes a maintenance day
Cranberry Township — In a step up for the Pittsburgh Penguins roster early Sunday morning, injured defenseman Mike Matheson and LW Jason Zucker skated with full pads two hours before the Penguins practice Sunday morning at the UPMC Lemieux Complex.
Zucker hasn’t played since Jan. 17, when the Penguins beat the Vegas Golden Knights at the T-Mobile Arena. He underwent core muscle surgery on January 25 and has been out for six weeks.
Hold on to our competitor and colleague Dave Molinari for being first, and get the video.
This season, Zucker has 13 points (6-7-13) in 31 games. Last season, a broken leg cost him much of the season, and he only played 38 out of 56 games.
In more than two seasons with the Penguins, Zucker has only played 84 games.
Mike Matheson, 26, was an unexpected addition to the Penguins injured list on Feb. 25 with an upper-body injury. He was qualified week by week.
Matheson has been a consistent presence with 21 points (7-14-21) in 50 games this season. He is also a plus-5.
Matheson is in his second season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins acquired him for Patric Hornqvist.
Also in training on Sunday morning, goalkeeper Louis Domingue was in full gear. Domingue has played one game this season and looked set to challenge for the substitute goalkeeper position, but after a resounding victory on January 15, he suffered a freak injury when he was hit by a puck during a morning workout several days later.
Update 1: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was not in practice. He was the only absent holder. Evan Rodrigues took his place on the top power play.
According to head coach Mike Sullivan, Malkin had a maintenance day.
Update 2: Sullivan said this was Zucker and Matheson’s first time skating. When asked if he could provide an update, he replied, “They skated.”
He kept his face stone for a few seconds before laughing and giving the full explanation. They skated with skills coach Ty Hennes and continue to improve.
PHN is unaware of Zucker and Matheson’s previous skating sessions, but cannot confirm this is their first return to the ice. We’ll update the story after practice when head coach Mike Sullivan speaks to the media.