The injured Matts – goaltender Matt Murray and forward Matt Cullen – are on the ice Tuesday for Pittsburgh Penguins practice at United Center, according to reports from Chicago. It appears they have been cleared for full participation.
Both players, who have lower-body injuries, have been skating, and returning to practice is the next logical step. Cullen worked with the fourth line.
Winger Patric Hornqvist, who his dealing with an upper-body injury, is not on the ice. He had progressed to rejoining the team, but apparently has either had a setback or just isn’t as close as was thought to returning.
Murray did not rule out being able to dress for Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks. “I’m still undecided. I have to talk to the doctors,” he said.
He added that returning to practice “feels good. You kind of take it for granted how much fun it is out there with the whole team, rather than by yourself.”
Cullen said he felt good, but it’s not known if he is a possibility for Wednesday.
Coach Mike Sullivan said Hornqvist’s injury is slow to respond.
“We were hoping he would progress faster, but that hasn’t happened,” Sullivan said. “Right now he’s status quo — day-to-day with an upper body injury.”
Derick Brassard, who was moved to the left wing on the top line with center Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel during Monday’s win against the Islanders, remained there for practice, and Phil Kessel remained on Evgeni Malkin’s wing.
The lines and pairings at practice (Thanks, Matt Vensel):
Derick Brassard-Sidney Crosby-Jake Guentzel
Tanner Pearson-Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel
Zach Aston-Reese/Riley Sheahan-Bryan Rust
Garrett Wilson-Derek Grant-J.S.Dea (Cullen rotated in)
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Olli Maatta-Jamie Oleksiak
Marcus Pettersson-Jack Johnson
Juuso Riikola-Chad Ruhwedel