While Sidney Crosby and company complete to win gold for their respective countries in Sochi, many members of the Penguins who stayed back for the Olympic break took to the ice today for their first practice in the past week.
All available members except for the injured Taylor Pyatt, Beau Bennett, Joe Vitale, and Chris Conner joined in to take line rushes and run through drills led by assistant coaches Todd Reirden and Jacques Martin.
Goaltending coach Mike Bales was also present to work with Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff, as well as another familiar face: Tomas Vokoun.
Vokoun, who has been out since the pre-season with a blood clot in his hip, was medically cleared to play this week by his doctor. Now that he can resume skating, the only possible factor holding Vokoun back will be conditioning. Though it probably goes without saying, it’s not easy to get your body back into NHL shape after not stepping on the ice for close to six months, and the fact that Vokoun is 38 only makes the situation more complicated.
If Vokoun does decide to return, don’t expect the Penguins to press him into service all at once. Marc Andre Fleury playing some of his best hockey in years, and Jeff Zatkoff has proven himself more than a capable backup.
The Pens also got a visit from another injured teammate: Kris Letang.
Before the Olympics, Letang was placed on IR after suffering a stroke on a team road-trip. While he is still over a month away from resuming skating, Letang was reported to be in good spirits at Pens practice, and his presence was almost certainly welcomed by all his teammates in attendance.