NHL notebook: Penguins’ Malkin eager to return

Pittsburgh star forward Evgeni Malkin is closing in on returning to the Penguins’ lineup.

FILE PHOTO: Oct 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) skates with the puck against the Buffalo Sabres during the second period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Sabres won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Malkin, who has been sidelined since Oct. 5 due to a lower-body injury, is hoping to be on the ice Saturday when the Penguins host the Edmonton Oilers.

“I want to do my best and be back as soon as possible,” said Malkin, who was injured in Pittsburgh’s second game. “I skated last week every day and I feel good. We’ll see what’s going on the next couple of days.”

The 33-year-old Malkin told reporters, “I miss the ice so much. I didn’t play all the time all summer. I missed the last three weeks. It’s a little bit hard (mentally) but I try to stay positive.”

—Chicago Blackhawks first-round draft pick Kirby Dach will not be returned to his junior team and is expected to remain in the NHL all season, coach Jeremy Colliton said.

Dach, the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, was told by Colliton and general manager Stan Bowman on Tuesday that he won’t return to his junior team in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The expectation is he will remain with Chicago all season. The 18-year-old Dach, a 6-foot-4 forward, has a goal and an assist in six games. He has averaged 11:59 of ice time.

“He’s shown he can help us, and he’s only going to get better,” Colliton told media members after practice. “I think the player he is now, there’s likely going to be a huge improvement as the year goes on, and the player (he is) in February I’m sure is going to be an impact player for us.”

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—Hockey Hall of Fame member Jim Gregory has died at 83, the NHL announced. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Gregory, who served as a league executive for four decades, was one of the first NHL general managers to import talent from Europe, most notably defenseman Borje Salming of Sweden.

Gregory served as the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager from 1969-79, guiding the Original Six club to eight post season appearances. During that time, Gregory convinced Salming to join Toronto in 1973. The defenseman spent 16 seasons with the club before finishing his career with the Detroit Red Wings.

—Field Level Media


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