OTTAWA --Perhaps the first sign that something was amiss with Patric Hornqvist was when the Penguins right winger politely declined to speak with the media that had gathered around his locker stall inside the Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday morning.
As usual, Hornqvist was the first player off the ice after going through the skate with little difficulty. He was reunited on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Tanner Pearson. Even worked on the top power play unit.
All indications were that he would play. And then ...
Presumably after consulting with the team's trainers and medical staff, it was decided that Hornqvist wouldn't play in tonight's game against the Senators.
Mike Sullivan said that Hornqvist is "day-to-day with an upper-body injury.” The good news for the Penguins is that, whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be too serious. The Penguins did not place Hornqvist on IR.
The better news, according to Sullivan, is that it is not related to the concussion he suffered Nov. 23 in Boston. That head injury -- the fourth documented one of his Penguins career -- sidelined Hornqvist for three games between Nov. 24 and 28.
Hornqvist was likely injured after taking this hit from the Islanders' Adam Pelech late in the first period on Thursday. Hornqvist finished the period but didn't return after the intermission:
"He's a great competitor, especially on a team like this that loves having the puck, and you have a guy that can go into the corner and come away with the puck 90 percent of the time. It meshes well with this group of guys," Pearson said of Hornqvist, unaware that his linemate would be out tonight. "He does what he says he's going to do and it's gone a long way."