Penguins notebook: Nick Bonino gets ring, keeps low profile
When Nick Bonino received his 2017 Stanley Cup ring Saturday morning, he tried it on for size and posed for a photo or two, then quickly and quietly tucked it away.
For obvious reasons, if Bonino has an inclination toward celebration, he has to keep a low profile about it these days. It would be rude to flaunt his ring in front of the players he beat to earn it.
“I definitely don't talk about what happened last year,” Bonino said. “It's the last thing I want to do. I just try to keep my head down and work hard.”
Bonino left the Penguins to sign a four-year, $16.4 million deal with Nashville in July. The Predators were back in town for a Stanley Cup Final rematch Saturday night.
Bonino expressed his fondness for his time in Pittsburgh after morning skate, noting that in addition to the pair of championships he won with the Penguins, his daughter was born in the city.
Still, he said, it's time to turn the page.
“Obviously there's some emotions, but at the end of the day, last year is done,” Bonino said.
It was the first in a series of reunions with championship teammates this season for the Penguins. Up next: Chris Kunitz and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. The big one: Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 14.
“We'd obviously love to still have (Bonino) here,” defenseman Ian Cole said, “but very happy for him.”
Winger Patric Hornqvist, still recuperating from offseason hand surgery, took a significant step toward returning to the lineup Saturday. He joined the team for morning skate, albeit in a non-contact capacity.
Hornqvist said he had “a few” screws removed from the hand two weeks ago, and his recovery is going as scheduled.
“We're on a good timeline here,” Hornqvist said. “Just have to heal up and go from there.”
Hornqvist, who has been skating on his own for weeks, said he's now working on regaining his touch and feel for the puck.
“I've been working pretty hard the last few days,” Hornqvist said. “It feels pretty good. Timing is probably going to be the hardest thing when you get back in the lineup. Other than that, I tried to work on everything to make myself the best I can when I'm ready to play a game.”
Coach Mike Sullivan said the next step is to incorporate contact into Hornqvist's regimen.
“The fact that he's joining our team in this capacity is an indication he's a whole lot closer,” Sullivan said.
Keeping an eye on Fleury
Fleury's first game with a team other than the Penguins was an unqualified success Friday night. He made 45 saves to lead Vegas to a 2-1 win in Dallas in the first game in franchise history.
“Happy to see him do well there,” long-time Fleury teammate Sidney Crosby said.
Conor Sheary said he watched, too.
“It looks a little weird,” Sheary said. “Maybe he'll bring out some yellow pads at some point and bring that back to Vegas.”
In lieu of practice after a 10-1 loss in Chicago on Thursday, the Penguins held an hour-long video review Friday in Cranberry. Cole summed up the tone of the session.
“There wasn't a lot of positives,” he said. “And by not a lot, I mean none.”