Penguins Evgeni Malkin, Zach Aston-Reese nicked up in dangerous scrimmage
On the second day of Penguins training camp Saturday, things got dangerous.
Evgeni Malkin took an accidental high-stick from Matt Cullen and Zach Aston-Reese took a puck to the face during the day’s intrasquad scrimmage. Both finished the scrimmage and seemed none the worse for wear.
For Malkin, the high-stick was exceedingly frustrating.
He also took a stick to the face during an informal practice last Tuesday. After the latest blow, which seemed to catch him in the mouth, he slammed his stick to the ice, sending it skidding from the neutral zone to the far end boards.
Cullen apologized profusely once Malkin returned to the ice.
Aston-Reese, meanwhile, skated in front of a high Kris Letang clear that caught him under his visor.
Aston-Reese suffered a concussion and a broken jaw when he was leveled by an illegal Tom Wilson hit in last year’s playoffs, so the errant puck was a potentially serious situation.
Aston-Reese said he did not find the experience terrifying, though, which has to be considered a positive sign in his recovery.
“If anything, I’d have a cool black eye, I thought,” Aston-Reese said. “I think it got me in the visor. It wasn’t a hard shot or anything.”
In general, it was an intense scrimmage.
Early on, Tobias Lindberg and Sam Lafferty almost came to blows after a confrontation along the boards. Later, prospect Calen Addison took a high stick as well.
“I kind of like that better,” Aston-Reese said. “Between camp and preseason games, there’s no break. We play Buffalo and Detroit next week. Guys on their team aren’t going to be easing up on us. It’s good to get your mind and body adjusted to that.”
Aston-Reese’s team lost when Ryan Haggerty broke a scoreless tie with 11.4 seconds left on a shot from the right faceoff circle. Tristan Jarry and Anthony Peters combined on the shutout.
Haggerty is a 25-year-old winger on an AHL contract coming off an outstanding season in Wilkes-Barre. He had 16 goals and 37 points in 47 games.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.