Penguins' Patric Hornqvist out with another concussion
Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist is sidelined with a concussion for the second time this season, coach Mike Sullivan said Thursday.
Hornqvist was injured when he took a puck to the face in the first period of Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers. It’s the fourth documented concussion for Hornqvist since the start of the 2016-17 season.
“We’re always concerned when one of our players gets a concussion,” Sullivan said. “We’re concerned for the player and the nature of concussions, as we all know, is they’re all very different. I don’t think any of us know enough about it — I know I certainly don’t — to try to draw any conclusions other than we’re hopeful that Horny can recover as quickly as possible, and we can get him in our lineup. We certainly miss him when he’s not in our lineup.”
After returning from his previous concussion at the end of November, Hornqvist said he wasn’t concerned about the cumulative effect of the injuries on his long-term health.
“Not at all,” he said at the time. “It’s always the same way. I feel out of it for a few days and then come right back at it. I’m not worried about that.”
Zach Aston-Reese, meanwhile, will be out longer term with an upper-body injury, Sullivan said. It’s believed Aston-Reese suffered a hand injury during a fight with Florida’s Colton Sceviour on Tuesday.
Aston-Reese’s injury comes on the heels of a concussion suffered by defenseman Jamie Oleksiak in a fight last month with Washington’s Tom Wilson.
The injuries haven’t prompted Sullivan to discourage his players from fighting in the future when the situation calls for it.
“We play a game that’s belligerent in nature,” Sullivan said. “That’s part of the game. These guys are competing hard out there. They’re sticking up for one another.”
Help for Magnitogorsk
The team’s charitable arm, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, has made a $30,000 donation to victims of a New Year’s Eve apartment explosion in Evgeni Malkin’s hometown of Magnitogorsk, Russia. That’s in addition to a personal donation of almost $60,000 that Malkin made.
“They tell me a couple days ago they want to donate. I gave them the account numbers,” Malkin said. “It’s amazing. We’re family here.”
Malkin said he lived within a five- or 10-minute walk of the apartment building that was leveled by a gas explosion.
“I know it’s tough for so many people,” Malkin said. “It’s a big tragedy at home. I’m trying to help. Just do something to help the people. It’s my hometown. I love the city so much. I love the people who live in the city. It’s so hard.”
Injuries forced the Penguins to shuffle their line combinations for the first time in weeks.
The top line of Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust remained intact.
Tanner Pearson moved up to the second line in place of Hornqvist, skating with Malkin and Dominik Simon. Riley Sheahan bumped up to the left-wing spot on the third line with center Derick Brassard and right wing Phil Kessel.
Derek Grant, who was a healthy scratch for nine of the team’s previous 10 games, and Garrett Wilson, who was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, were on the fourth line with Matt Cullen. The Penguins have no extra forwards on the roster for a five-game western road trip.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at email@example.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.