Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It's One Big Preseason Mystery after Another Penguins

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It's One Big Preseason Mystery after Another Penguins

Article excerpt

DETROIT -- The greatest mystery of this Penguins training camp has been precisely what type of injury has prevented Evgeni Malkin from participating in a single workout.

Until now, anyway, when it has been supplanted by a more timely question: Will he be able to dress for the regular-season opener Oct. 9 against Anaheim?

There is, general manager Jim Rutherford said Tuesday, no definitive answer yet. But one should be coming soon.

"The next few days will be the turning point, as to whether he'll be available for opening night," Rutherford said.

The Penguins will have four on-ice practices before they face the Ducks. There's no guarantee Malkin will take part in any of them, let alone that those would prepare him adequately for a game.

Coach Mike Johnston said: "I know the type of training he was doing [in Russia in the offseason]," but acknowledged that, "as far as I know, he hasn't been cleared to work out."

Regardless of whether Malkin is one of them, Rutherford said he anticipates having 21 players on the active roster when the season begins. That's two below the NHL maximum, and an obvious concession to the Penguins' salary-cap situation.

"We're up against the cap, so we have to get creative here going into the opening of the season," Rutherford said.

The Penguins have 32 players -- including Malkin and two other injured players, winger Beau Bennett and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo - - on their major league depth chart as they prepare to face Detroit in their final exhibition game at 7:38 tonight at Joe Louis Arena.

That means there are some significant moves coming within the next week or so, although it isn't known exactly when.

Johnston suggested there will be "two or three" cuts made after the Red Wings game or on Friday, but noted that he's not in a hurry to get down to his regular-season group. …

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