NHL | NHL Buzz: Rust, Rakell, Ruhwedel each out with injury for Penguins

NHL Buzz: Rust, Rakell, Ruhwedel each out with injury for Penguins


NHL | NHL Buzz: Rust, Rakell, Ruhwedel each out with injury for Penguins


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Pittsburgh Penguins

Bryan Rust is being evaluated for a lower-body injury.

No timeframe for the first-line right wing was provided. Rust was one of four Penguins to miss practice Tuesday, along with forwards Rickard Rakell and Matt Nieto, and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.

Rakell, normally right wing on the second line, is out longer-term with an upper-body injury. Ruhwedel is week to week with a lower-body injury. Nieto took a maintenance day.

The Penguins host the New York Rangers on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN-PIT, MSG).

“I don’t know if ‘frustration’ is the word,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “Injuries are a part of the game. Every team goes through it, we’re not different. We have to find a way to fill the voids when guys go down and find ways to win. Our expectation is that we have enough to win games.

“I think we have the depth at all the positions. It’s going to provide the opportunity for others to step up here.”

Rust has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) on a line with center Sidney Crosby and left wing Jake Guentzel.

Rakell has four assists in 17 games, returning to the second line in a 3-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday after being dropped to the third in the previous game Saturday.

Ruhwedel has played on a third defense pair with Ryan Shea with defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury.

Forward Vinnie Hinostroza, who practiced Tuesday after missing the game Sunday with a lower-body injury, could elevate from his usual role at fourth-line right wing.

“Vinnie Hinostroza is a guy that has offensive instincts to his game,” Sullivan said. “We have Jansen Harkins, who has some offense to his game. We have Alex Nylander, a guy that has played well in Wilkes-Barre (American Hockey League) that has an offensive dimension to his game. There’s a handful that, in the event that we have to go there, these guys will be part of the discussion.” — Wes Crosby

Philadelphia Flyers

Marc Staal could return to the lineup when the Flyers visit the New York Islanders on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; MSGSN, NBCSP) after the defenseman was activated from injured reserve Tuesday.

Staal has missed 14 games because of an upper-body injury sustained against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 19. Coach John Tortorella said a decision on Staal’s status would be made Wednesday.

“I broke two ribs. It was not fun,” Staal said of the collision with Oilers forward Warren Foegele that caused the injury. “His back hit the wall first but his knee was out. So his knee was sticking out and my ribs just wrapped around it. First I thought it knocked the wind out of me. Then I got back to the bench and I couldn’t get my wind back. I was trying to get it back and it wasn’t happening, so I … knew something was going on.”

Staal said the first 4-5 days were the hardest in his recovery but said he’s nearly pain-free now.

“I took two weeks probably and then I started to skate,” he said. “And then I just kind of incrementally started to do more, little more bumping, little more rotation, all that stuff, just to kind of to get to where it is. Now I feel it a little bit, but it feels good.”

Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who has not played this season because of a lower-body injury, practiced in a regular jersey but likely will not play Wednesday.

New Jersey Devils

Nico Hischier returned to practice Monday for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury Oct. 27 but will not play when the Devils visit the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; MSGSN2, BSDET).

The center had been skating on his own for the past week.

“That’s exactly what he needs is practice time so great to see him out there,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said Tuesday. “See how we keep progressing. … He will come with us (to Detroit) to practice. He won’t be playing.”

Hischier was injured during a 5-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres when he took a high hit from Sabres defenseman Connor Clifton along the boards at 16:00 of the first period. The Devils captain played the second period but did not play in the third.

Hischier has missed nine games. Clifton was suspended two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for an illegal check to the head.

Hischier has two goals in seven games this season. The Devils are 4-5-0 without him.

“Nico is obviously such a big part of the team an the organization and as a friend for me too so obviously seeing him out there practicing with us and being around us is awesome and brings a smile to your face,” Devils forward Jesper Bratt said. — Mike G. Morreale

Florida Panthers

Aleksander Barkov was unavailable when the Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Monday.

The center had to be assisted off the ice early in the third period of a 2-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday after colliding with defenseman Jackson LaCombe.

Florida coach Paul Maurice said Barkov has an apparent knee injury and that there was soft-tissue damage.

Barkov has not been placed on injured reserve and his status for their game against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; MAX, TNT, TVAS) is unknown.

“We will list him as day to day as we are still looking at him,” Maurice said Sunday. — George Richards

New York Rangers

Adam Fox took part in the morning skate Monday wearing a no-contact jersey, continuing his recovery from a lower-body injury sustained Nov. 2.

It was the second straight day the defenseman skated.

Fox is with the Rangers for their three-game road trip, which began with a 6-3 loss at the Dallas Stars on Monday.

“I think it’s just the next step,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s a chance to work with him. We’re here, so to bring him on the road and get him some extra work off the ice and on the ice, I think that’s important in the progression.”

Though Fox is making progress, Laviolette would not give a timetable for when he could play again. Fox was placed on long-term injured reserve Nov. 3, meaning he’d have to be out a minimum of 10 games and 24 days, so the soonest he could play would be at the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 29.

“I’d stay away from commenting because I think there’s a progression that goes with players,” Laviolette said Sunday. “It’s positive that he’s gotten some skates, it’s positive that he’s out there with some players, and you hope you continue to see him progress. But I’m going to stay away from timetables.”

The Rangers are 4-1-1 without Fox. — Taylor Baird

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