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Penguins Roundup: 12/9/14

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins practiced at Southpointe Tuesday afternoon. Forward Patric Hornqvist and defenseman Olli Maatta were both absent.

Hornqvist, who skated on his own Tuesday, is expected to rejoin the team at practice on Thursday and could return to the lineup as early as Friday when the Penguins host the Calgary Flames.

“He will partake in a part of practice on Thursday,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “He seems to be fine. It’s a matter of making sure he can go through practice, like we do everybody else.”

Maatta, who was injured Saturday afternoon against Ottawa, did not make the road trip to New York and is still being evaluated.

Defenseman Kris Letang (groin) joined the squad for a full-contact practice.

“I thought Letang looked good in practice,” Johnston said. “It was full out in all contact drills. That’s a real good sign. If he gets one more in on Thursday, I expect he should be close to playing on Friday.”

Letang, who has missed the past five games with the groin injury, was on the ice for an hour-and-a-half session of contact, putting his injury through a rigorous test.

“I felt pretty good. I’m trying to build every day and get stronger and stronger,” Letang said. “I’m pushing it harder. It was the most intense workout I’ve had so far.”

Letang is still taking things day-by-day. Though the most difficult part of the injury now is remaining patient.

“In the past I’ve made the mistake of pushing it too hard and too fast, and end up having a setback,” Letang said. “The organization told me there’s no point in rushing. It can be an injury that you can keep for the rest of the year if you don’t pay attention to it.”

Letang suffered the injury on his final shift against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 28.

Forward Nick Spaling left practice when he was high sticked on his nose during a drill, but it was nothing significant. Other than aesthetically.

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