Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk inches closer to return
DALLAS — Getting bit by the injury bug is nothing new for Pittsburgh Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk.
Through his eight-year career with the Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes and the Penguins, he has missed 69 games because of maladies ranging from a broken hand to sore knees to even the flu. And don’t forget those nugatory “lower-body injury” designation.
Seven of those 69 lost games have come with the Penguins this season because of an undisclosed “lower-body” ailment.
Getting bit by an actual bug (or an arachnid for you entomologists out there)? That’s another matter.
On Oct. 16, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Galchenyuk was hospitalized was because of a spider bite. The next day, coach Mike Sullivan said that detail was not confirmed.
Galchenyuk practiced Friday at American Airlines Center and offered a few details afterward regarding his potential encounter with an araneae.
“I had a really bad allergic reaction,” he said. “When I got to the hospital, the doctors told me I got bit by whatever it could be. I just had a large reaction to that. I don’t know why the spider or how the thing got out. But nothing. It wasn’t official that it was a spider or anything particular. I just had an allergic reaction.
“There was a report that it stalled my rehab. None of that happened. It was all good. It was just an allergic reaction. I’m here.”
In the three games he has been in the lineup this season, Galchenyuk has two assists.
“An injury always (stinks),” Galchenyuk said. “It’s always tough to miss games and watch home on the couch. You want to be a part of it. You want to help. But you also want to be smart and make sure you’re 100 percent when you come back.”
While fellow forwards Nick Bjugstad and Bryan Rust are game-time decisions against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, Sullivan ruled out Galchenyuk.
Still, the team felt it was important to fly him to Texas to participate in a practice.
“Alex will not play tomorrow, but he’s obviously getting real close,” Sullivan said. “He’s joined the team in practice. That’s the reason why we’ve brought him out here: to get him around the team, to get him into the team practices. The next step, obviously, would be the decision to put him back in the game. The first step is to get him back into practice with the team.”
Said Galchenyuk: “Skating with the team, meeting the guys here, was good for me and exciting. Once you start skating with the team, you feel like you’re close to coming back. It’s always positive.”
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .