Penguins' Carter Rowney activated off IR, plays vs. Capitals
Friday marked exactly one month that Carter Rowney had been out of game action.
“Felt like I was out for six months,” the Penguins forward said Friday morning, with a relieved smile.
He didn't have to wait any longer.
Rowney was activated from injured reserve a couple hours later and was in the lineup for the Penguins' game against the rival Washington Capitals that night.
He slotted back into centering the fourth line with wingers Tom Kuhnhackl and Ryan Reaves. Bryan Rust moved up to Sidney Crosby's line because of the absence of Conor Sheary (week-to-week with lower-body injury).
Rowney's ice time was limited, though; Crosby and Evgeni Malkin alternated taking double-shifts with Reaves and Kuhnhackl.
Rowney was cleared without limitation after the skate. Though it was a lightly attended session with little opportunity for contact, Rowney wasn't off-limits. His return to practice Thursday was on a limited-contact basis.
“It was just getting used to the pace,” Rowney said. “This whole time, I have been skating, so my legs feel good. It's just getting back with the team, getting used to the timing and the speed that game is played at. But I felt pretty good out there these past two days.”
To make room on the roster for Rowney, Penguins re-assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the player who'd been the fourth-line center in recent weeks, Jean-Sebastien Dea.
Rowney made his NHL debut one year and two days before Friday. He missed 13 games earlier this season because of a fractured hand.
He did not go into detail about the nature of his injury, suffered during a Jan. 2 game at Philadelphia.
“Kind of a freak play,” Rowney said. “Unfortunate and frustrating as it was, I was lucky enough that it was short term, in a way. Could have been worse. It was a fairly smooth rehab, and I'm happy to get back.”