We have breaking news to announce.
According to the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account, star forward Evgeni Malkin is on the ice for practice in a full-contact jersey. This means he will probably be suiting up for tomorrow's Game 2 of the series against the Washington Capitals.
Here is the official announcement from the team:
"Good news of the day: Evgeni Malkin is on the ice for practice in a full-contact jersey."
Associated Press' Stephen Whyno posted a photo of Malkin on his Twitter account, just minutes after the team's announcement:
"Evgeni Malkin practicing with Penguins in regular yellow jersey. He was in no-contact jersey two days ago"
Penguins beat writer Josh Yohe added that the 31-year-old forward looks pretty good out there, which is great news for Penguins' fans:
"Malkin looks really good at practice. I’d be stunned if he doesn’t play tomorrow."
Officially, Malkin was listed as day to day because of an unspecified injury he suffered in Game 5 of the first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. He then sat out Game 6, and Game 1 against Washington. The fact that he traveled to DC with the team led us to believe he would be able to play on Sunday.
Malkin's teammate, Bryan Rust, told Sportsnet yesterday that he is hoping he would get back soon enough, considering everything Geno brings to the team when he is on the ice:
"It’s always nice to see a guy like him out there," winger Bryan Rust said Thursday after an optional morning skate. He’s a guy who’s obviously really important to our team and brings so much. Just to see him out there and see him getting closer is nice."
Head coach Mike Sullivan also admitted Malkin is hard to replace, and that his return would be a huge boost for his team:
"It’s great for our team, great for Geno that he’s on the ice and skating," Sullivan said. "He’s a big part of this team. He’s a difference-maker and not an easy guy to replace."
In 78 games this season, Malkin scored 42 goals and added 56 assists for 98 poiints, his highest total since the 2011-12 season. He also amassed three goals and two assists in five playoffs games.