As if Patric Hornqvist hadn’t already had enough bad injury luck, he is now out with another concussion according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hornqvist was hit by a puck in Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, a match that also forced Zach Aston-Reese out of the lineup with an upper-body injury. Mackey reports that Aston-Reese will be out “longer term.”
Hornqvist has already missed time earlier this season with a concussion, but has been extremely effective for the Penguins when in the lineup. The tenacious, physical forward has 15 goals and 26 points in 34 games, which would put him on pace for the best season of his career if he had been able to play in all 82 games. Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen, and it’s not clear how long he’ll now be out. Mackey notes on Twitter that this is Hornqvist’s fifth concussion since December 2014.
The Penguins do have some time off coming up later this month, when they’ll go eight full days between games thanks in part to the All-Star break. That time will hopefully help their forward group get healthy, and ready for a second half run to put them back in Stanley Cup contention. After starting the season slowly, the Penguins are 9-1 in their last ten and have climbed within just two points of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division. It’s not only Hornqvist and Aston-Reese getting them there, but having those two healthy and in the lineup gives them a dimension that few others can.