PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins activated defenseman Justin Schultz from the Injured Reserve, Friday. The move clears the way for Schultz to play Saturday against the Calgary Flames or Sunday against the New York Rangers.
Schultz has maintained his return date was not set in stone. He spoke briefly after practice.
“It’s another step. (I’m) still day-to-day. There’s no target, just whenever I feel good and get going. It’s a big step.”
Schultz recovery has seemingly moved to the mental aspect as the player has been cleared for all contact and been a full participant in practice for more than two weeks. In a dark twist, the injury to defenseman Olli Maatta and subsequent placement on IR cleared the way for the Penguins to activate Schultz without a corresponding personnel move.
The Penguins will play three games in four days, including the back-to-back games this weekend.
“I want to get in as quickly as I can. It’s been a long time. The quicker I get back in, get back in the swing of things and get back up to speed will be good for us.”
Schultz has missed the last 53 games after suffering a fractured leg on Oct. 13. He skated in a pairing with Jack Johnson at practice, Friday. Juuso Riikola was the extra defender and would appear to be the healthy scratch if Schultz decides to play, Saturday.