Malkin could return today
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Still headache-free and with his short-term memory completely returned, Evgeni Malkin went through a full-contact practice with many of his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Sunday.
Malkin, who has missed the past four games due to a concussion, said he "felt pretty good" immediately after the workout at a suburban rink.
Coach Dan Bylsma said the next step was for Malkin to pass an imPACT test. The team did not rule out a return today when the Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Malkin indicated he'd prefer more time.
"Good practice today, but I need a couple more, I think," said last year's NHL MVP and scoring champion. "It was just a little bit tough to push my back and shoulders. But we will see. I feel pretty good, so we'll see the next step."
Malkin was speaking to the media for the first time since he was injured colliding with the boards during a win over Florida Feb. 22. He has skated on his own twice since.
Malkin said he has not experienced headaches, neck soreness or other symptoms, only short-term memory loss the day of the collision.
After watching Sidney Crosby struggle to shake concussion symptoms for more than a year before returning last spring, Malkin said he is not worried his injury will be as serious.
"I'm not scared because I know it's hockey and hockey has injuries sometimes," Malkin said. "I think (the concussion) is not so bad because I feel pretty good right now. We'll see. I think I can come back soon."
Malkin characterized the play as "bad luck" and did not place any blame on Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.
"In highlights, it looks bad," Malkin said. "But it's not that bad."