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Penguins Roundup: 12/28/14

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Add another prominent name to the Penguins’ list of injured players.

Penguins head coach Mike Johnston said Sunday that he expects winger Patric Hornqvist to be out “a few weeks” with a lower-body injury.

Hornqvist was struck by a shot from teammate Scott Harrington in the first period of Saturday’s game vs. Washington and appeared to be in pain, but stayed on the bench and played out the rest of the frame. However, he did not return to the game after the first intermission.

“He went out of the game with a lower-body injury (and it’s) going to be determined, but I would expect it’s going to be a few weeks, for sure,” Johnston said.

Kris Letang also did not practice Sunday, but he made the trip to New Jersey with the team and is a possibility to play Monday against the Devils.

Johnston said the defenseman was dealing with “basically a bruise,” so they let it settle down today. The coach expects Letang will partake in the morning skate tomorrow, and they’ll go from there.

“I don’t know for sure if he’ll play, but they kept him off the ice today just because of the bruise,” Johnston said. “Then they’ll let it settle down and get a skate tomorrow and see how he is.”

Winger Beau Bennett – who has missed the last 14 games with a lower-body injury and was also diagnosed with the mumps in the middle of the month – practiced for a second straight day, his first real one with contact, and also made the trip to New Jersey with the team.

But while Bennett is progressing and Johnston said he’s “getting closer” to a return, the Penguins don’t want to rush him and right now, there’s no set date for him to play.

“(For) a guy like Beau where he’s had a situation where he’s come back from injury and never really had a chance to play for an extended period of time, we want to give him a good prep time here,” Johnston said. “So although we’d like to have him in our lineup, we don’t really want to force him in too early. I think the best thing for him would be to get a couple more practices with the team. … He’ll be with us in Jersey and he’ll continue to practice with us, but there’s no definite time for him to play right now.”

On a positive note, injured players Craig Adams (undisclosed), Christian Ehrhoff (lower body), Thomas Greiss (mumps), Olli Maatta (shoulder), Paul Martin (undisclosed) and Zach Sill (upper body) all participated in an on-ice session with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar prior to team practice.

“They’re going to stay behind, they’re going to practice on their own with Mike Kadar, then hopefully over the next little while here, they’ll start to join the team,” Johnston said. “But there’s no immediate plans for any of those players to join the team.”

NOTE: Blake Comeau (upper body), Steve Downie (mumps), Scott Wilson (leg) and of course, Pascal Dupuis (blood clot) are the remaining members of the Pens’ injury list that did not take the ice today.

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