Penguins optimistic about Malkin returning for playoffs

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are reeling following the news that Kris Letang is done for 2016-17, but the outlook is much rosier for Evgeni Malkin. At least at the moment.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said that he’s optimistic that the star center will be back for the Penguins in the playoffs, according to reporters including NHL.com’s Wes Crosby.

If you take a look at Rotoworld’s injuries page, you get a view of a Penguins team that’s banged-up even beyond Malkin and Letang. Bryan Rust, Trevor Daley, Chris Kunitz, Carl Hagelin and Matt Cullin are other players who are at least dealing with bumps and bruises. Whether they maintain home-ice advantage for at least a round of the playoffs or not, you have to wonder how close this team will really be to 100 percent.

Rust’s issue doesn’t sound too significant, although day-to-day is one of hockey’s most frustrating mystery updates:

And, yes, the Penguins are especially addled by injuries.