Pens winger Pascal Dupuis suffered a lower-body injury late in Sunday’s practice and will miss the next 4-5 weeks.
“Most of us thought it didn’t look too bad. On further examination we found out different,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We’ll see how he is. Right now it’s frustrating for him, he’ll be fine in a couple of days. You know how he is. He’s got lots of energy and focus. He’ll be determined to get back as soon as he can.”
It’s a disheartening turn of events for the veteran. Dupuis, 36, has missed the bulk of the last two seasons with various injuries. Two seasons ago Dupuis, who will not need surgery for the current injury, missed 43 games with an ACL/MCL tear in his knee. Last year it was a blood clot that sidelined him for six months.
“I saw him pull up in practice the other day and whenever you see that, you’re not sure what to think,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “But it’s tough to see that, obviously. He’s worked really hard for a long time to get back to this point. Just going to have to wait a little bit longer. But it’s definitely tough to see.”
Dupuis’ presence will be missed in the locker room. He’s the epitome of a true team leader and beloved in the locker room. So it’s no surprise that his teammates were aching for him.
“He’s a guy that’s dealt with a lot of adversity,” forward Chris Kunitz said. “Everyone remembers how he came back last season with the jump and energy he brought to our team and it’s something that, for him to come back from that and then experience more things, you know he’s a guy who can deal with it mentally. He’s going to prepare himself. You know hopefully it’s something that heals quicker I guess.”
Forward Beau Bennett was inserted into the lineup for Tuesday’s practice and will likely fill Dupuis’ spot on the third line with Nick Bonino and David Perron.
“I think Beau has had a really good preseason,” Perron said. “He’s another guy that came in in great shape. Beau is a guy who’s going to look to be a force right away.”
On the penalty kill, Johnston pointed to Bobby Farnham as a player that will step up with Dupuis out. Though hopefully, it won’t be for too long for Dupuis’ sake.
“It’s just one of those things. As a player when you go through those types of things it’s frustrating, but that’s the way it is,” Johnston said. “He’s got to deal with it right now and pick it up as quick as he can.”
The Pens recalled Oskar Sundqvist from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this afternoon.
On Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates will host division rival Chicago Cubs at PNC Park in the one-game Wild Card contest. The winner will advance into the divisional round while the loser’s season comes to an end.
The Pens’ coaching staff wore Pirates hats on the ice at Tuesday’s practice to show their support. And the players all wore hats on the plane ride from Pittsburgh to Dallas to show that they are #BurghProud.
“We’ll be watching for sure,” Crosby said. “I think everyone here’s got a hat, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some guys rocking some Pirates gear on the road and we’re excited for them. So hopefully they can pull it off.”
Watch the guys board the team plane in their Pirates hats...