Poehling Back Off Ice as Injury Clouds Season Status
The saga of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Ryan Poehling’s injury status continues, as he is back to being off the ice, and coach Mike Sullivan’s tone Tuesday didn’t offer an abundance of optimism.
Poehling has missed the past 10 games, and 19 of the past 26, because of what Sullivan has described only as a nagging upper-body injury.
“His status remains the same,” Sullivan said. “It’s unchanged at this point.
“He’s just going through a difficult process where he’s on the ice, he’s off the ice. We’re, hopefully, going to get him to the point where we get him on the ice more consistently. That’s going to give him an opportunity to get back in the lineup.”
Sullivan’s description and qualifiers such as “hopefully” call into question just how many games, if any, Poehling will be able to play in the stretch run. The Penguins have just 20 games left, including one Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at PPG Paints Arena.
Poehling seemed to be tracking toward a recovery before he had what Sullivan deemed a setback a week ago when the team was in Nashville. When Poehling joined the team for practice Monday — albeit in a non-contact jersey — Sullivan described that as significant progress.
Yet Tuesday, Poehling did not skate before or during a lightly attended morning skate at PPG Paints Arena.
Poehling, 24, has five goals, 11 points in 38 games in his first season with the Penguins and has earned strong reviews. He brings size, strong defensive play and what seems to be a good feel for the game.
“He’s an important player for us,” Sullivan said. “He’s played extremely well for us. I feel badly for Ryan because he’s gone through a difficult circumstance here over the last couple months.
“But, hopefully, we can get him on the ice more consistently moving forward.”