The Penguins practiced Friday afternoon at Southpointe. Forward Patric Hornqvist, who was injured in the second period of Thursday’s game against Vancouver after receiving a hit in the neutral zone from Ryan Stanton, was not on the ice for practice.
“He’s still being evaluated,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We’ll find out how he is (Saturday) morning after they do more evaluations on him.
“Standard protocol is to check every area. He’s seeing our doctors, doing his baseline test and they’ll determine where he’s at.”
On the play Hornqvist was trying to play a puck in his skates. As he put his head down to retrieve the puck, Stanton stepped up on him. Hornqvist went immediately to the bench and then to the locker room. He did not return.
Also missing from practice were injured players Beau Bennett (lower body), Chris Kunitz (foot fracture), Scott Wilson (leg) and Kris Letang (groin).
“When you’re missing players and have players juggled in and out of lines, defense pairs being changed, it all comes back to your team play,” Johnston said. “If your structure and team play is sound, that’s what we have to reemphasize, stress and makes sure it is in place. If we play a good, solid team game then the pieces can interchange within.”
With the injury to Hornqvist, the Pens recalled forward Bryan Rust from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League early this morning.
“I like the energy that he plays with,” Johnston said. “He’s got a good stick. He protects the puck well and handles it well when he has it on his stick. He’s got good puck strength. He’s not a big guy, but plays a bigger game than he is.”
Rust, 22, made an early morning drive from northeast Pennsylvania, but made to the Southpointe facility in time for practice.
“I left this morning and it sank in right when I go there,” Rust said after practice. “I was hurrying up to be on the ice and see these big name faces, see Mr. Rutherford. It’s a dream come true.”
Rust, who was answering media questions while teammates placed socks and a jock strap on his shoulder for some rookie hazing, has 11 points in 22 games in the AHL.
“I feel good about my game,” Rust said. “I feel good about how I’m using my speed. That’s how I got here. From where I am right now it shows that I’ve been playing pretty well. I’m excited.”
Rust, Pittsburgh’s third-round pick (80th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, took the long road to the NHL. The Pontiac, Michigan native started in the U.S. National development program, winning a gold medal in the 2010 World Under-18, and then played four years of college hockey at Notre Dame.
“It was the best path for me,” Rust said. “My first two years at college I didn’t put up the numbers I wanted to. I had a hard time. I figured it out in my junior and senior year. It took me a little longer to develop.
“I’m happy where I’m at right now. I’m going to continue moving forward.”
The Pens used the following workflow at practice…