Is Dea’s re­call tied to Horn­qvist?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Hockey - Ja­son Mackey: [email protected] and Twit­ter @JMack­eyPG.

Does this in­volve Pa­tric Horn­qvist?

That’s the ques­tion most Pen­guins fans are prob­a­bly won­der­ing af­ter the team re­called Jean-Se­bastien Dea and placed fel­low for­ward Do­minik Si­mon on in­jured re­serve Fri­day morn­ing.

It could … but there are no guar­an­tees.

And be­cause the Pen­guins can­celed prac­tice Fri­day, it’s likely we won’t learn any­thing un­til the Satur­day morn­ing skate in Ot­tawa.

The Horn­qvist sit­u­a­tion has a strange feel to it, though.

The feisty right winger played the en­tire first pe­riod Thurs­day in a 6-2 vic­tory against the New York Is­lan­ders at PPG Paints Arena with no signs or any­thing too se­ri­ous hap­pen­ing.

But Horn­qvist never came out for the sec­ond pe­riod.

Af­ter the game, coach Mike Sul­li­van said he hadn’t spo­ken to the team’s med­i­cal staff and that Horn­qvist was be­ing eval­u­ated “as we speak.”

Asked whether the in­jury was re­lated to Horn­qvist’s last one — a con­cus­sion suf­fered Nov. 23 that forced a three-game ab­sence — Sul­li­van said, “I don’t know the an­swer to that.”

Fig­ur­ing out what the move Fri­day means also isn’t easy be­cause the Pen­guins could con­ceiv­ably in­sert Dea into Horn­qvist’s spot to get to the nor­mal amount of 12 for­wards.

It’s also worth not­ing that Matt Cullen has been mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in his re­turn from a lower-body in­jury, mean­ing it could only be a game or two where the Pen­guins try to get by with 12 for­wards.

But even so, if Horn­qvist is hurt and you’re mak­ing moves, why not bring some­one else up? There aren’t any salary-cap lim­i­ta­tions here since the Pen­guins cur­rently have Justin Schultz on long-term in­jured re­serve.

That seems to be an in­di­ca­tor that Horn­qvist is OK, and Dea winds up be­ing No. 13 in Ot­tawa.

The Pen­guins cer­tainly hope it’s not a con­cus­sion with Horn­qvist, who has had three since Novem­ber 2016 and plays a rugged style that car­ries with it am­ple phys­i­cal risk. One more, and it’s fair to worry if there’s a ca­reer-al­ter­ing trend hap­pen­ing here.

It also hurts the on-ice prod­uct given Horn­qvist’s im­mense value: an emo­tional leader plus eight goals and 13 points in his pre­vi­ous nine games.

Dea, 24, is back with the Pen­guins af­ter they claimed him off waivers from the New Jersey Devils Nov. 29. Since then, Dea had two as­sists in two games with Wilkes-Barre/Scran­ton of the Amer­i­can Hockey League.

Dea played 20 games this sea­son for the Devils, who claimed him from the Pen­guins.

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette pho­tos

Jean-Se­bastien Dea was re­called from Wilkes-Barre/Scran­ton on Fri­day.Do­minik Si­mon, right, cel­e­brates a goal with Sid­ney Crosby. Si­mon was placed on the Pen­guins in­jured re­serve list Fri­day.

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