ALLEGHENY HEALTH NETWORK

Malkin ‘a little bit nervous’ for imminent return

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Evgeni Malkin works out Saturday morning, in Tampa, Fla. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

TAMPA, Fla. -- Evgeni Malkin's hardly Knute Rockne, but he's made more than his share of heady remarks over the years. Bold predictions, candid callouts, that sort of stuff.

Not now. He's not in the mood.

Yeah, he was back on the ice with the Penguins for their hour-long practice Friday afternoon at Amalie Arena, his fullest participation in the 10 days since sustaining an upper-body injury. He was speaking publicly for the first time, too. But he was still wearing that no-contact sweater, and he still spent much of the session at the far end of the rink with other injured players and regular scratches.

And no, he still can't play. Mike Sullivan didn't formally rule out anyone for the meeting here Saturday night with the Lightning, but Malkin himself did rule that out and expressed "hope" he could return for the following game Monday in Philadelphia.

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