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Pens Report: 2.23.17

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com

The Pens' already-battered blue line just keeps taking hits.

After Olli Maatta underwent hand surgery last Friday that will have him out six weeks, the team announced this morning that Trevor Daley would also miss six weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

In addition, head coach Mike Sullivan said Kris Letang - who was the only expected player missing from Pens practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex - is day-to-day with an upper body injury.

However, the Pens did get some good news - both with the addition of Ron Hainsey and the return of Justin Schultz to practice. The defenseman has missed the last three games with a concussion after getting injured on a hit from Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien on Feb. 16 vs. Winnipeg.

"It feels really good," Schultz said of being back with the team. "I didn't miss too much time with the guys, so it's good to be back and feeling good. I skated pretty hard the past couple days by myself. Just trying to stay in game shape."

Schultz still has to be cleared for contact, but is hoping he can take that step on Friday for the Pens' outdoor skate at Heinz Field before the Stadium Series against Philadelphia on Saturday.

"The plan is to hopefully get cleared and practice tomorrow and be ready for the game," he said. "We'll see what happens here."

"He felt good out there today," Sullivan added. "I talked to him after practice on the ice and he said he felt great. We'll see how he responds. But certainly that's encouraging."

* Sullivan did not have anything definitive on forward Bryan Rust, who has missed the last 6 games with an upper-body injury. "It's obviously longer-term," Sullivan said. "Hopefully not too long, but it's of the longer-term nature. I'll try to get that answer for you over the next couple of days."

* Forward Nick Bonino skated after missing Tuesday's 4-1 win at Carolina due to illness. These were the lines the Pens used…

Kunitz-Crosby-Hornqvist

Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel

Wilson-Bonino-Guentzel

Kuhnhackl-Cullen-Fehr

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