Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hornqvist Not Likely to Play This Week While Hand Heals

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hornqvist Not Likely to Play This Week While Hand Heals

Article excerpt

Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist likely will miss the beginning of the regular season, coach Mike Sullivan said Monday.

Sullivan said it "doesn't look likely" that Hornqvist will be sufficiently recovered from offseason surgery to his right hand to take the ice for the season opener Wednesday against St. Louis.

Hornqvist has been skating on his own before practices, but has not practiced with the team in the preseason.

"We'd like to get him into some practices before we throw him into the game situation, and, at this point, it's not probable that that's going to happen before game one," Sullivan said.

Because the Penguins open with back-to-back games against the Blues and at Chicago, it seems reasonable to assume Hornqvist will miss the second game, as well, pushing any potential return to the end of the week, at the earliest.

Sullivan said Hornqvist has not had any sort of setback, and that this is just the usual course of his rehab.

"He's making progress, for sure," Sullivan said. "Our hope is he's going to be joining the team for practice here in a timely manner, and then we'll make decisions accordingly."

Fortunately, the Penguins have the luxury of being able to take their time in this case. They have no shortage of talented forwards - particularly at winger. Even with a player as valuable as Hornqvist, it's more important that he return to 100 percent rather than rush back for the first few games of an 82-game season.

"We're going to make sure that when we do put him in that he's ready," Sullivan said. "I think at this particular point in the season, it's important that we err on the side of caution with him.

"I think we're deep at the wing position, in particular. It's a really competitive position for our organization. To have the luxury of having access to the quality of players that we have that we can put in our lineup is certainly comforting, from our standpoint."

Moving Hornqvist to injured reserve to open the season would also solve a numbers crunch as the Penguins approach the deadline to get down to 23 active players. Removing Hornqvist would put them at 23 players on the active roster - eight defensemen, 13 forwards and two goalies - and allow them to avoid putting another player on waivers for the purpose of sending them down to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. …

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