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Penguins 'hopeful' Patric Hornqvist can play in opener

Jonathan Bombulie
| Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, 2:15 p.m.
Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson makes a save on Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist in the first period during game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday, May 13, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson makes a save on Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist in the first period during game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday, May 13, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.

Patric Hornqvist watched his teammates practice Thursday morning in Cranberry with a wrap on his still-healing right hand.

The Penguins remain hopeful he can be in the lineup for the season opener Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.

Hornqvist, who had offseason surgery to repair the broken hand he played with in the Stanley Cup playoffs, has been skating on his own throughout training camp but has not returned to practice.

“We're hopeful he's going to be ready for game one,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We're not going to rush him back into this here. It's early in the season. It's important that he's healthy and ready to play. He's still progressing. He's going through the rehab process right now. We're hopeful that we get him for game one, but we're going to take a cautious approach with him.”

Sullivan continues to tinker with his lineup as the opener approaches.

In Wednesday night's exhibition game with Buffalo, Carl Hagelin played the left wing on the second line with center Evgeni Malkin and right wing Phil Kessel. On Thursday, Scott Wilson was in Hagelin's spot.

On defense, Olli Maatta skated on a pair with Justin Schultz on Thursday, while Ian Cole was teamed up with Matt Hunwick. Last season, Cole and Schultz were a regular pair.

The Penguins also made one personnel move on Thursday, placing winger Tom Sestito on waivers. Sestito has been sidelined since the first practice of training camp with a lower-body injury. If he clears waivers, he can be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

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