The Pittsburgh Penguins will have a slightly different look up front tonight and moving forward, after the shuffling a pair of injured players. The team announced that Patric Hornqvist has been placed on the injured reserve, retroactive to November 6th, while Matt Cullen has been activated. Hornqvist has been in-and-out of action since late November, while Cullen returns after missing the past eleven games.
Hornqvist suffered a concussion in November and missed three games in the final week of the month. However, Hornqvist did return to action for three more games after that. Yet, he has been back out of the lineup for the past two games with an undisclosed upper-body injury that may or may not be related to his previous concussion. Regardless, the Penguins will miss their power forward, who has 19 points on the year, including 12 goals, which trails only Sidney Crosby for the team lead.
The team will be happy to get veteran leader Cullen back, though. Cullen may not have much an offensive spark left, but is a reliable two-way forward and more importantly a key locker room leader. So long as Cullen isn’t slowed by his return from a lower-body injury, he should slot back into his regular fourth line role. Cullen registered 22 points in 79 games with the Minnesota Wild last season and could return to a similar scoring clip once he’s back to full strength for the Penguins.