Mike Sullivan: Evgeni Malkin 'full contact' at practice, will travel with Penguins

Apr. 28—A pair of injured centers continue to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and each will travel with the team on their upcoming road trip.

Evgeni Malkin and Frederick Gaudreau each had what could be characterized as a robust participation in Wednesday's practice in Cranberry. While Malkin wore a white jersey that typically indicates "no contact," coach Mike Sullivan said after practice he was working on a "full" contact basis.

Gaudreau was not encumbered by any apparent contact restrictions at all, and he centered a fourth line during rushes. That indicates his return is imminent, perhaps as soon as games at the Washington Capitals on Thursday and Saturday.

Gaudreau has not played since suffering a a lower-body injury April 11. In recent days he has taken part in morning skates or practices, but Wednesday was the first time he did not wear a "no-contact" jersey.

"I feel better and better every day and it feels good to skate with the team," Gaudreau said. "It's never fun to get injured and go through rehab. It was good to see the team having success, but you want to be on the ice as well. Overall, it's going well."

Malkin not only wore a different colored jersey than everyone else, he also took line rushes on a "fifth" line. Though he did work with the No. 1 power play at times at during Wednesday's practice, he also was part of a second unit. That indicates his status is more in limbo than Gaudreau.

Malkin hasn't played since March 16 because of a suspected right knee injury. He remains on long-term injured reserve.

"So very excited for him to come back," erstwhile linemate Kasperi Kapanen said. "Hopefully it's soon. But we'll see."

Gaudreau skated between Colton Sceviour and Evan Rodrigues, suggesting that his return to the lineup would result in a healthy scratch for Mark Jankowski.

Jankowski skated with Malkin and Sam Lafferty in a makeshift grouping.

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 .