Sidney Crosby misses Pens practice, 3 others return

Pens host Flyers again Thursday and Saturday
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CRANBERRY TWP, PA (93.7 The Fan) – Pens had three players return to practice today including one of the top pair defensemen. Sidney Crosby missed practice Wednesday after he was placed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday morning.

Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said, per NHL rules, he was unable to provide an update on Crosby on assistant coach Todd Reirden, also on the list.

Dumo back

Defenseman Brian Dumoulin out 14 games due to a lower body injury went through his first full practice and took full contact.  Dumoulin didn’t work with his normal partner Kris Letang but rotated with defensemen on a third pairing.

Expect when Dumoulin is ready, he goes back with Letang.

“They’re just so familiar,” Sullivan said. “They have complimentary skill sets. Dumo is a real reliable, trustworthy, sound defenseman. When Dumo plays with Tanger, it gives Tanger the ability to act on his instincts.”

“It’s been tough,” Dumoulin said of missing time.  “I’ve been trying to stick around and see as much of the guys as I can.  Just try to get their feel for how things are going.  Last night they had a good effort.  Hopefully they are feeling good right now because they’ve been playing some good hockey.”

“It’s nice to see us come back in a lot of games.  That’s something that we had in ’16-’17 when we won both Cups.  We were never out of a game.  Good to see that we have that comeback instinct in this group.”

Rodrigues skates

Out 15 games with a lower body injury, Evan Rodrigues also practiced today mixed in during a few line rushes and was on the second power play unit.  The forward who re-signed with the Pens after they traded him to Toronto has a goal in six games.  He started the season on Sidney Crosby’s line.

“Great to be back with the team and have more than two or three people on the ice,” Rodrigues said.  “It’s been a long 5-6 weeks, but I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

Rodrigues believes it was beneficial to get a different perspective while he had to watch, noticing especially the time and space on the ice.

Jankowski centers fourth line

He’s just missed three games, but the guy who scored the first Pens goal of the season returned and was back centering the fourth line.  Mark Jankowski has only that one goal and a pair of assists in 18 games this season and is a minus 4.  Jankowski was out with an upper-body injury.

Line combinations

Jake Guentzel-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Brandon Tanev-Jared McCann-Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese-Teddy Blueger-Sam Lafferty
Colton Sceviour-Mark Jankowski-Anthony Angello

Kris Letang remained with Marcus Pettersson and John Marino with Mike Matheson.

PP practice

Pens spent a good bit of time on the power play, at times Mike Sullivan raised his voice with the top unit.  Kasperi Kapanen in for Crosby with Malkin, Letang, Rust and Guentzel.

Anthony Angello, he of 11 career NHL games, on the second unit with Rodrigues, McCann, Marino and Matheson.

New D-man

He had an assist in his first game with his new team, defenseman Mark Friedman said his game was the best it’s been in a while.  The 5’11” defenseman drafted by Ron Hextall and came over on a waiver claim after playing four games with the Flyers.

“It’s the battle of Pennsylvania,” Friedman said.  “These teams go way back.  It’s nice to be on this side of the rivalry as opposed to the other.  Guys were saying last night, ‘no friends on the ice’.

Friedman said he’s a good skater, two-way defenseman who likes to mix it up.  He believes he will be a good fit here.