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Evgeni Malkin Hits the Ice

Saturday, 11.7.2009 / 5:41 PM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Evgeni Malkin Hits the Ice
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- Penguins center Evgeni Malkin skated for the first time since being sidelined with a shoulder strain injury Saturday when he stepped on the ice at HP Pavilion at San Jose. Malkin, wearing the red "no contact" jersey, joined his teammates halfway through their morning skate and stayed on the ice for well over a half hour.

"It felt great and I hope to come back soon," Malkin said. "It's good to be skating. My legs feel great. I worked with (strength and conditioning coach) Mike Kadar hard every day. When you have an injury it's tough because you work every day and don't play games."

"He's been itching to step onto ice but we wanted to make sure that we progressed and doing the right things and taking the right steps," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "This is the day we set for Geno to get on the ice and he's happy to be out there."

For Malkin, who had his streak of 302 consecutive games played (including playoffs) snapped due to the injury, it's been difficult adjusting to not being able to play hockey.

"It's very tough to miss hockey games," he said. "I watch the game in the locker room on the bike and work out. I played three years with (minimal) injuries. I'll just miss a couple games more and hope to come back."

Malkin, the NHL's reigning regular-season and post-season scoring champion, did not participate in practice. He skated around the ice and did some light puck work, such as stick handling and shooting. But he didn't push his shoulder very hard. 

"I wasn't shooting hard and if I skate the shoulder isn't sore," Malkin said. "Once my shoulder is stronger and I feel good and the shoulder isn't sore (I'll return). I hope that's coming soon."
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