The Pittsburgh Penguins will not have Justin Schultz back in the lineup on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan spoke after the morning skate in Philadelphia, where he dished the bad news about Schultz.
Penguins center Nick Bjugstad, who was estimated to be out eight weeks is still progressing, as well. Bjugstad has been skating with the Penguins skills coach Ty Hennes for a few weeks but has not yet rejoined the team. The eight-week window has passed but Sullivan noted the core muscle surgery recovery is not always easy to predict.
“He’s making progress. Both (Bjugstad and Schultz) are skating back at home right now with Ty (Hennes), our skills coach,” Sullivan said. “We’re hopeful that they’ll be making significant progress. After the break, we’re hopeful we’ll get them back in a timely fashion.”
After tonight, the Penguins have a nine-day break which encapsulates the All-Star Break and their bye week. Sullivan seemed to indicate the Penguins factored the extra recovery time in leaving Schultz out of the lineup and if the Penguins needed him, Schultz could have played.
“That’s one of the factors we weighed into it for sure,” Sullivan said. “As I said (Monday) when we’re trying to make the decision of a player returning from injury and returning to play, the safety of the player is the priority, foremost.”
Bjugstad played only 10 games this season and registered one assist. His last game was Nov. 15 against New Jersey. Schultz has missed time twice this season. He missed time from Nov. 19 to Dec. 6, then again beginning on Dec. 17 with a lower body injury.
Schultz has eight points (2g, 6a) in 27 games this season. The Penguins defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent after this season but has been hampered by injuries over the past two seasons.
Dominik Simon who left the game on Sunday with a lower body injury will play On Tuesday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins complete the symbolic first half of their season on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers.