“He’s done really, really well to this point,” Sullivan said at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex via PittsburghHockeyNow.com. “I’ve sat with our medical staff here on a number of occasions with respect to Geno. They have built-in a schedule for him. Some of it will be on the ice. Some of it will be off the ice. There is a schedule of a few days where we're going to give him a break because he’s been training so hard for so long, and it’s a tedious process.”
Malkin hasn't participated in the team's skating sessions in recent days, but Sullivan reassured reporters that the former All-Star hadn't experienced a setback.
“We’re really encouraged with the progress that he’s making,” Sullivan said. “We’re excited. I had an opportunity to see him the other day and was really encouraged with his strength on the ice and how he’s progressed.”
Malkin, 35, is aiming to return for his 16th NHL, which is the final year of an eight-year, $76 million contract he initially signed with the Penguins in 2013 worth $9.5 million annually.
Malkin was averaging a point per game last season prior to experiencing a knee injury when he collided with Boston Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi on March 16.
The veteran center missed the final six weeks of the regular season and Pittsburgh's first two postseason games before returning for four playoff appearances and later undergoing knee surgery after the Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in June.