Is Dea’s recall tied to Hornqvist?
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.
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.