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Hornqvist Full Contact, Bjugstad Still Being Evaluated



Pittsburgh Penguins Patric Hornqvist

The Pittsburgh Penguins may soon get one of their four injured bodies back in the lineup. Tuesday morning at the Penguins morning skate, winger Patric Hornqvist skated in a regular, full-contact jersey for the first time. Hornqvist skated with a non-contact jersey at Penguins practice on Sunday.

The Penguins power play has recently veered towards a more simple shoot-rebound strategy, could use Hornqvist in his typical position in front of the Penguins net. Hornqvist spoke after the skate Tuesday morning.

“I feel good. It’s fun to be back on the ice and to practice with the guys and see if I could keep up,” said Hornqvist. “It feels good. I’ll take it day by day from now on and I like the process I’ve been through for last the next two weeks and I’m getting closer to playing.”

Hornqvist has 10 points (5g, 5a) in 14 games.

The Penguins lineup has been fully healthy for only two periods this season. Hornqvist left the game on Nov. 2 after suffering a lower body injury.

“We did all of the steps through and today was the first day with contact and get used to getting hit and go through people. It felt good,” Hornqvist said. “I’m taking the right steps and hopefully I can play here real soon.”

The Penguins again practiced the power play setup, odd-man rushes, and other game situations.

In additional Pengins injury news, Penguins center Nick Bjugstad is still being evaluated according to Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan.

“What I can tell you is Nick is out longer-term,” Sullivan said.

Bjugstad’s left leg bent awkwardly when he tangled at center ice on Nov. 15, against the New Jersey Devils. Bjugstad has been seen around the arena without walking aids or braces. The Penguins’ large center has struggled to finish offensive chances this season.

In 10 games, Bjugstad has only one point, which was a goal on Nov. 4 against Boston.

The Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders Tuesday night.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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