Penguins notebook: Dupuis, Fehr back on ice, lineup changes could loom |

Penguins notebook: Dupuis, Fehr back on ice, lineup changes could loom

The Penguins’ top-nine soon could look drastically different.

Pascal Dupuis and Eric Fehr practiced with teammates Sunday at Consol Energy Center, signs their returns are near.

Dupuis was expected to be out until Nov. 3 with a lower-body injury. Fehr had elbow surgery the first week of June and was given a timetable of four to six months to return.

“See how it reacts overnight,” Dupuis said. “It went pretty well out there. Right now, no issues at all. Stayed a little bit longer. It feels good. Really good.”

Dupuis rotated in a group with Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Phil Kessel, though coach Mike Johnston said that’s just how practice worked. Fehr worked with Malkin, David Perron and Patric Hornqvist.

“I just tried to give Phil a little break there,” Dupuis deadpanned.

To show him the ropes?

“Show him how not to do stuff, basically,” Dupuis said.

Having Dupuis back, whether it’s killing penalties or staying positive, is something this group will welcome. Johnston said Dupuis “brings a lot of energy to practice.”

Kris Letang lauded Dupuis’ two-way game.

“It’s fun to have a guy who can play both ends of the ice really well, bring a lot of energy on the ice and in the room,” Letang said.

Captain Sidney Crosby acknowledged the team is significantly different with Dupuis in the dressing room.

“We definitely notice when he’s around,” Crosby said.

The looming returns of Fehr (Penguins debut) and Dupuis also will ignite the discussion on whether to keep Daniel Sprong after nine games or return him to his junior team.

• Johnston promised a full evaluation and likely changes on the power play following an 0-for-5 performance during Saturday’s win over the Maple Leafs. But with the team off Monday, any changes will have to be implemented during Tuesday’s morning skate at the earliest. “We’re taking another 24 hours before we come up with an exact plan,” Johnston said. “It’s something you have to look at carefully because it is early. I want to make sure that if we’re making changes, it’s for the right reason. Sometimes, you react after a game if you don’t get the goal or certain things accumulate.”

• Johnston had no update on the condition of winger Beau Bennett, who is on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.

— Jason Mackey

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