Olli Maatta, who was injured after being checked on November 17 by Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter into an open bench door, may be ready to return to the ice this weekend.
Maatta took a big first step toward his return on Friday, when he took contact in Penguins practice, according to Sam Kasan of the team’s official site.
The Penguins play back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, facing the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Coach Mike Johnston says there’s a chance that Maatta is in the lineup over the weekend. “He made it through the contact with the team. We’ll see tomorrow morning. If we can get another good practice with him, there’s a chance he could play on the weekend.”
Maatta was expected to miss three-to-four weeks with the injury. He’s currently missed six games.
He has two goals and two assists through 18 games this season.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.