Some of the Penguins staged exit interviews today with local media. Here's a brief roundup of notable injury updates:
-Center Evgeni Malkin (above) said he was unsure if he would need surgery on his left elbow. He will undergo an MRI on the elbow which was initially injured March 11 during a game at Columbus. The ailment sidelined him 16 games.
"I can't say right now," Malkin said. "I go [get an] MRI tomorrow and we'll see."
General manager Jim Rutherford said he was unsure if Malkin would need surgery as well.
"I do think a surgery like that, it takes a little bit longer to heal," Rutherford said. "So I don't have a good answer for you. I guess there's a 50-50 chance of that, based on what I know, what he played through during the playoffs. This is a guy that had a real serious injury that played before most guys would have played. And made a contribution to the team. Just shows his character. It was pretty impressive."
-Center Nick Bonino was sporting a wrap around his left elbow.
"My elbow got infected in the playoffs there," Bonino said. "After Game 3 of the [Stanley Cup Final], I was on antibiotics. If I had a fever over I think it was 101, they were going to shut me down for the year. I was a on a ton of antibiotics. I was getting [intravenous fluids] every day in the hospital. It was good. The [doctors] did a really good job of keeping my elbow healthy. I don't think I practiced the whole last series. Guys were ripping me for it because I just played games. I didn't have to practice anymore. I just rested up and we got it done. … I was quarantined in a hotel. I wasn't even living at home. They didn't want me around the baby. It was a weird time. But it was worth it to win."
-Defenseman Ben Lovejoy revealed he suffered broken ribs as a result of a hit by Lightning right winger J.T. Brown Feb. 20.
"I missed 16 games. I broke three ribs that really hurt. Then during the [Eastern Conference final vs. Tampa Bay] I took a [defenseman] Victor Hedman shot off the hand and had to get shot up for the next couple of games. … Now I wear Ben Roethlisberger-style rib pads and I will for the rest of my career because breaking ribs [stinks]."
-Right winger Bryan Rust was sporting a protective device on his right hand. He said he suffered a broken finger during the third period of Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Sharks.
-Defenseman Olli Maatta reported he was healthy after the postseason. He will attend to an obligatory military conscription in his native Finland this summer but did not get into specifics.
-Left winger Tom Kuhnhackl declined to offer any specific information on his left foot. He has been wearing a protective boot for several weeks.
-Left winger Scott Wilson (right) said his right foot feels good. He broke it March 11 as a result of a hit by Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout. Wilson estimated it would take another week before he could skate without any limitations.
-When asked for any updates on players' health, head coach Mike Sullivan did not offer any specific information and simply said:
“We had a lot of guys that were banged up and they played through a lot for us to win the Stanley Cup. Everyone's got some time to heal their wounds but they certainly played through a lot.”
-Defenseman Trevor Daley, sidelined since May 20 due to a broken left ankle, was not made available for comment today.
-Center Matt Cullen, who finished the postseason with a broken toe, was not made available for comment today.
-According to RDS, defenseman Kris Letang underwent surgery for an infection in his foot prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He was not made available for comment today.
-Right winger Patric Hornqvist appeared to suffer a hand injury while blocking a shot during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against Tampa Bay. He was not available for comment today.
-Center Kevin Porter, sidelined since March 3 due to a broken ankle, was not available for comment today. After Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in San Jose, Porter offered a brief update on his status.
“I skated four times now," he said. "Still a little bit sore."
Regarding personnel moves:
-General manager Jim Rutherford said he wants to keep both goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray (right).
“You never have enough good players, especially at that position," Rutherford said. "If it wasn't for Fleury's play, we probably wouldn't be in the playoffs. He really carried this team, especially in the first half of the season when we needed to have really good goaltending. Then of course, he got hurt. Matt took over. Matt was going to get some games down the stretch anyways. That was always the plan then he kind of took over. … As far as navigating going forward, I have not met with Marc yet to see what he is feeling. I have not seen the expansion guidelines yet so I don't want too look far ahead of myself. I can just say if it was in a perfect world and [head coach Mike Sullivan] and I were making a decision right now, we would like to start the season with Fleury and Murray but we'll have to see what the circumstances are and deal with that moving forward."
-Fleury was not made available for comment today.
-Rutherford said he wants to resign Lovejoy and Cullen, each unrestricted free agents. Rutherford acknowledged the team's limited salary cap space may prevent that.
"Ben Lovejoy played the way we had hoped he would play when we made that trade," Rutherford said. "And this time last year, I said we would make that trade again because we had injuries last year, especially on our defense and we went out in the first round. And when you trade a young player for veteran player, then it doesn't feel as good. It feels a heck of a lot better today because it played out the way we hoped it would play out. Ben played extremely well for us. He gave us that right shot. An experience defenseman we were looking for and this year it played out. Depending on [salary] cap room, we would like to take a look at bringing Ben back. He certainly deserves a raise. We don't have a lot of room. We'll see if there's other moves that can be made and free up some cap space."
At 39, Cullen could retire.
"In Matt Cullen's (right) case, I'd like to have him back," said Rutherford. "He has not made a decision. He's going to take his time. I told him to take lots of time because it's not going to affect what we do on July 1. If Matt doesn't come back, it just opens the door for [center] Oskar Sundqvist who is getting very close to being ready to play. If Matt comes back, it gives Oskar a little time. Or maybe he has to move to right wing to play with the [NHL] team. Or it gives him a little more time to develop. We're going to take our time with this. I believe the way Matt takes care of himself, if his body can heal up here in the next 100 days, I think he can still come in and help our team next year."
-Defenseman Justin Schultz, a pending restricted free agent, said he would like to re-sign with the team. Rutherford acknowledged the team's salary cap will be an obstacle in accomplishing that.
"Based on our cap situation, we're going to have to look at the Schultz situation real close," said Rutherford. "We'd like to have him back. We thought he played real well for us and we felt he'd have a chance to play even play better if [assistant coach Sergei Gonchar] can work with him over time. Confidence and coaching are going to make a big difference for him. He's still a good player. We'd like to figure out a way to bring him back but we're a little bit squeezed here so we'll have to see.”
-Rutherford said the team plans on tendering a qualifying offer to pending restricted free agent right winger Beau Bennett. Bennett was not available for comment today.
-Rutherford was asked if he plans on returning as general manager.
“We really like it here," Rutherford said. "It's what I said from the start. The people are great here. It's a great sports town. I do need to take a little time – not a long time – to think about it. But I don't know. I don't know. We'll see here over the next week or so. I guess based on some of the things I'm doing and planning and what not, it's kind of tracking that I'm coming back.”
-Other players not available for comment today included defensemen Ian Cole, Brian Dumoulin right wingers Phil Kessel, Pascal Dupuis, center Eric Fehr and left winger Carl Hagelin.
(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images and Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)