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Malkin feels ‘great,’ but ’50/50' for Penguins’ opener

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 3, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime.

Bruce Bennett

From the Associated Press:

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin says he may be ready to go in time for Thursday’s season opener against Anaheim.

The former MVP skated with his teammates for the first time during training camp on Tuesday. Malkin sat out the first two-plus weeks of camp with an undisclosed injury. He called the issue “minor” and said he’s in “great shape” but cautioned it’s “50/50” on whether he’ll be able to skate against the Ducks.

If Malkin can’t play Thursday, his next opportunity will come Saturday in Toronto. Pittsburgh’s third game is next Thursday at home to Dallas.

“It’s a minor (injury). It’s not a big problem,” Malkin said, per the Pens’ website. “It feels great. I need to get in better shape, but I’m glad to be back. ... I skated all practice and feel great, I’m not tired.”

Also of note, when Malkin does return, he may play on the wing for the first little while.

“It takes away some defensive responsibilities right away if you haven’t played in that length of time,” coach Mike Johnston said.