The Penguins had close to a full group at practice today with winger Jake Guentzel returning from COVID-19 protocol while center Sidney Crosby participated once again. However, head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters, including Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that those two as well as winger Zach Aston-Reese, have all been ruled out for tomorrow’s season-opener. However, Guentzel is a possibility to play on Thursday night while Crosby is unlikely to play on their road trip. An IR placement for him appears likely which could open up a roster spot for the expected signing of veteran Brian Boyle.
More from the Metropolitan:
- While Carolina placed center Vincent Trocheck on IR over the weekend, Walt Ruff of the Hurricanes’ team site notes (Twitter link) that the team remains optimistic that he will be available for their season-opener against the Islanders on Thursday. Trocheck had 43 points in 47 games last season while primarily playing on Carolina’s second line, a role he’s likely to reprise in 2021-22.
- Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has been making progress as he works his way back from a hip injury but the team announced (Twitter link) that the veteran has been designated as injured/non-roster on their season-opening roster. Head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters, including NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti (Twitter link) that the 33-year-old has to start skating. As a result, it appears it will be a little while longer before Washington’s top pivot is in the lineup.
- While the Rangers were expected to name a captain before the season started, that is not the case. Instead, the team revealed (Twitter link) that they have named six alternates – defenseman Jacob Trouba plus forwards Barclay Goodrow, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, and Mika Zibanejad.