When it comes to head injuries, there’s a point where you stop worrying about when a player might return, and instead become concerned about their long-term health beyond hockey.
It’s unclear if Patric Hornqvist has reached that point, but it’s especially disturbing to learn that the Pittsburgh Penguins winger has suffered another concussion.
Hornqvist has had a tough run when it comes to getting hit by errant pucks. His latest concussion happened when he was hit by a puck during the Penguins’ 5-1 win against the Panthers on Tuesday. His first concussion of 2018-19 came in November when he was struck by a puck and bloodied during warm-ups, which somehow isn’t the first time he got hit in the head with a puck warming up.
This marks multiple concussions over the last few year for the 32-year-old, and the troubling thought is that it’s difficult to imagine Hornqvist avoiding much danger in the future. After all, the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2005 NHL Draft tends to go to the “dirty areas” to score goals, and scratching and clawing to carve out a place in this league likely inspires Hornqvist to play hurt.
Sounds like a formula for scary long-term consequences if things went in a negative direction.
For what it’s worth, Hornqvist didn’t seem phased about his history back in November, according to The Athletic’s Seth Rorabaugh.
“No. Not at all,” Hornqvist said. “It’s always the same way. I feel kind out of it for a few days then come right back at it. So I’m not worried about that.”
Might it sink to the point that the Penguins are the ones who would need to do the worrying?
In case you’re wondering, Hornqvist is under contract through 2022-23, with a cap hit of $5.3 million per year. That extension could end up backfiring for the Penguins, but here’s hoping the Penguins play it as safe as possible.
Also bad news: Zach Aston-Reese could be out “longer-term” with an upper-body injury likely suffered here:
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.