Kasperi Kapanen part of Penguins practice free of 'no-contact' restrictions

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Apr. 21—On Wednesday, another small step was taken toward the Pittsburgh Penguins returning to a fully healthy lineup.

Injured wing Kasperi Kapanen participated in practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. Out since March 24 because of an injury he acknowledged Wednesday was to his left foot, Kapanen wore a regular black jersey — indicating there were no contact restrictions on him — but did not take a regular shift during line rushes. Usually a second-line right wing, Kapanen rotated into the fourth line Wednesday.

Kapanen said there was no timetable for a return to the lineup, but he has been absorbing contact while skating in recent days with fellow injured forward Evegni Malkin and the team's taxi quad.

"I feel good. I feel like myself," Kapanen said via video conference call with media after practice. "Whenever it's a foot injury, I always feel like there's just extra precautions coming back."

Kapanen remains on injured reserve. He and Malkin participated in Tuesday's morning skate in advance of that evening's home win against the New Jersey Devils.

Coach Mike Sullivan had no specifics on how close to a return to game action Kapanen is.

"One of the challenges is we don't have a lot of practices at this time, so it's not an ideal environment for these guys in a return-to-play scenario," Sullivan said. "There's not going to be an ideal time when give Kappy the the nod and put him back in the lineup. But when that comes, to a certain extent, he's going to have to get the conditioning and the timing through the games. And we will try to manage that the best we can."

Malkin, who has not played since March 16 because of a suspected right knee injury, was not at practice Wednesday and remains on long-term injured reserve.

The pair wore "no-contact" jerseys and did not take part in line rushes Tuesday, so Kapanen's status Wednesday is considered a mild upgrade. Still, it would be surprising if he was cleared to play as soon as Thursday's home rematch against New Jersey.

Keep up with the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at cadamski@triblive.com or via Twitter .