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Preseason Buzz: Penguins hope Hornqvist ready for opener

Forward still recovering from offseason surgery on right hand

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the 2017 preseason!

This is a busy time, with the start of the new season less than a week away. Rookies are looking to make a name for themselves and veterans are aiming to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the preseason news for Thursday:

 

Penguins hopeful Hornqvist ready for opener

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope forward Patric Hornqvist will be ready for their season opener against the St. Louis Blues at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

Hornqvist, who had surgery on his right hand during the offseason, has not joined the Penguins during training camp. He has skated on his own several times since camp opened Sept. 15, when general manager Jim Rutherford said he expected Hornqvist to return at some point later in camp.

Coach Mike Sullivan said Thursday the Penguins remain optimistic regarding Hornqvist's recovery, but won't attempt to expedite it.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Hornqvist banks in late go-ahead goal

"We're hopeful he's going to be ready for Game 1," Sullivan said. "We're not going to rush him back into this here. It's early in the season. It's important that he's healthy and ready to play. So, he's still progressing. He's going through the rehab process right now.

"We're hopeful that we could get him for Game 1, but as I said, we're going to take a cautious approach with him."

Hornqvist last skated with some of his teammates during an informal on-ice workout at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Sept. 7.

Where Sullivan would play Hornqvist upon his return remains uncertain. The likeliest option would be third-line right wing next to center Greg McKegg since forwards Conor Sheary and Phil Kessel occupy right wing on the first and second lines, respectively.

Hornqvist had 44 points (21 goals, 23 assists) in 70 games last season and nine points (five goals, four assists) in 19 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

-- Wes Crosby

 

Hanzal back at practice with Stars

Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal participated in his first full practice Thursday.

Hanzal, 30, injured his left ankle in an informal scrimmage in early September. He said he wants to push himself in practice during the next two days and plans to play in the Stars' final preseason game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

"I felt pretty good today, it was the first skate on the ice with the guys, and it was a long one too," Hanzal said. "It's great to be back with the guys on the ice and have an actual line, and all the drills."

Hanzal was skating on a line with left wing Antoine Roussel and center Devin Shore. It's a combination coach Ken Hitchcock said could work well together in the regular season.

"It's always a process to find the chemistry with the right people on the same line," Hanzal said. "Sure, it's going to take a while. But it's always like that when you have a new team."

Hanzal also played on the second power play unit as the Stars worked on special teams for much of practice.

Dallas signed Hanzal to a three-year, $14.25 million contract on July 1.

-- Sean Shapiro

 

Blues looking at all possibilities to deal with rash of injuries

The St. Louis Blues will explore all options after forward Robby Fabbri reinjured his left knee and was ruled out for the 2017-18 season.

Whether that means general manager Doug Armstrong will try to make a trade, sign a free agent such as Jaromir Jagr (link to: https://www.nhl.com/news/st-louis-blues-discussing-jaromir-jagr/c-291422728 ) or allow some of the Blues' young prospects to play is a decision he'll have to make soon. The Blues open the regular season Oct. 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

The Blues said Wednesday that Fabbri won't play this season and that forward Zach Sanford will miss 5-6 months after having shoulder surgery on Tuesday. St. Louis is also without forwards Patrik Berglund (shoulder) and Alexander Steen (hand), as well as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (ankle). Berglund isn't expected back until December; Steen and Bouwmeester are expected to miss at least the first week of the season.

"We're exploring all options right now," Armstrong said Thursday. "Really excited about our younger players and what they've accomplished now. But going over the players that we have here on our roster here today; we have [Samuel] Blais and Tage [Thompson] and [Klim] Kostin that have played zero NHL games and we have [Ivan] Barbashev and [Oskar] Sundqvist that have played limited NHL games up front and we have [Jake] Walman and [Vince] Dunn on the back end that have played zero NHL games.

"... When I put my vision on July 1, we've lost a third of our top nine and also a third of our top 12 with Sanford's injury. We've sustained some injuries, but we have to find a way to overcome it."

-- Louie Korac

 

Oshie leaves Capitals game with injury

Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left with an undisclosed injury in the third period of a 4-1 preseason loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, but coach Barry Trotz said the injury is not believed to be serious.

Oshie was hurt with 7:14 remaining when he went in to check a Devils player, missed and went hard into the boards. He thought about returning to the game, but after a quick twirl around the ice during a media break decided not to test it. He remained on the bench for the rest of the game.

"I said, 'If there's any doubt that you can hurt yourself a little more, it made no sense risking it,'" Trotz said.

Washington trailed 4-0 by 14:19 of the first period after allowing three power-play goals and another during a delayed penalty. Oshie played right wing on his expected regular-season line with Nicklas Backstrom at center and Andre Burakovsky at left wing. He played 15:20 and had three shots on goal before departing.

"I haven't heard that it's anything serious," Trotz said. "But he is a big part of what we do, so I'll check with the trainers and hopefully we'll have an update for you. But I don't think there's anything too serious."

-- Brian McNally

 

Rangers loan Andersson to Swedish Hockey League

Center Lias Andersson, the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, was among seven forwards cut from the New York Rangers' training camp roster Thursday.

Center Filip Chytil, the No. 21 pick in 2017, is one of 15 forwards still with the Rangers.

Andersson was loaned to Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. Chytil was named the winner of the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award given annually to the top rookie in training camp as selected by the media.

In addition, the Rangers sent forwards Cristoval Nieves and Vinni Letteiri, and defensemen Neal Pionk and Ryan Graves, to Hartford of the American Hockey League. Forward Matt Puempel was placed on waivers and forward Bobby Farnham was released from his professional tryout contract.

The Rangers have 25 players remaining in camp, including forward Andrew Desjardins, who is on a professional tryout contract and was suspended for the final two preseason games because of an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood on Saturday.

-- Dan Rosen

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