News: Matthew Lombardi (groin) took part in Thursday's practice, Newsday's Steve Zipay reports. Analysis: Matthew Lombardi has been held out since injuring his groin Sunday, but it appears he is feeling good enough to return to practice, and the setback should not prevent him from being ready for Opening Night.
News: Patric Hornqvist, who skated with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz on Wednesday, was held pointless against Detroit. Analysis: He registered one shot while seeing five other attempts blocked or missing the net. Patric Hornqvist makes for a strong fantasy sleeper, as he regularly totals 50-plus points and takes a healthy number of shots. The Penguins are expected to play him with Evgeni Malkin, but even if Malkin misses time with an undisclosed injury Hornqvist will still see ample opportunity on Pittsburgh's potent power play. Hornqvist, Kunitz and Crosby all played more than four minutes (4:05 TOI) on the man advantage Wednesday to lead the team.
News: Ryane Clowe (concussion) will play in Thursday's exhibition game. Analysis: Ryane Clowe missed the first portion of training camp after recovering from a concussion suffered in late March, but he returned to practice a couple weeks ago, and is now ready to make his preseason debut. Barring any unexpected symptoms over the next few days, it seems likely that Clowe will be available for the Devils' season opener.
News: Nick Spaling led the Pens with two assists in Wednesday's 2-0 win in Detroit. Analysis: He's expected to skate with Brandon Sutter on the team's third line in 2014-15. Nick Spaling scored 13 goals and 32 points in 71 games for Nashville last year and a similar point total is likely with Pittsburgh.
News: The Blackhawks assigned Ryan Hartman to AHL Rockford on Thursday, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Analysis: Ryan Hartman was given a chance to compete for a roster spot during training camp, but he missed time recently with an injury and did not show enough to make cut. Hartman could see action for the Blackhawks at some point this season after being selected in the first round of last year's draft.
News: Sidney Crosby made his preseason debut Wednesday, skating 18:47 TOI while taking a game-high seven shots in a pointless effort against the Red Wings. Analysis: Sidney Crosby, who made it through the game unscathed, took just nine shots combined in his final four spring playoff games -- making Wednesday's shot total somewhat impressive. Injury speculation will likely dog him until he shows that he can score and be the player he was for the first five months of 2103-14, but Wednesday proved to be an encouraging start. The Penguins are off now until Oct. 9, when they host Anaheim in the regular-season opener.
News: Phil Kessel left Thursday's practice with an undisclosed injury, Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. Analysis: Head coach Randy Carlyle was vague when discussing Phil Kessel's health, so it's uncertain what type of setback he is dealing with. Expect Kessel's status to be updated as more details become available.
News: Sergei Gonchar did not participate in Wednesday's practice after taking a puck off his ankle late in Tuesday's exhibition game, Brandon Worley of DefendingBigD.com reports. Analysis: It's not entirely clear what type of setback Sergei Gonchar is dealing with, but he was seen in obvious pain on the bench after being struck by the puck. Expect an update on his status as more details become available.
News: Matt Cullen (lower body) is skating outside of team practices, according to the Tennessean. Analysis: Despite Matt Cullen's injury - which doesn't sound overly serious - his role on the team is somewhat in question this season after the Preds went out and picked up Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Olli Jokinen in the offseason, moves that strengthen them considerably down the middle. Realistically speaking, Cullen is likely looking at a third-line role by the time he returns.
News: Simmons is dealing with a lower body injury and is considered day-to-day. Analysis: The extent of Wayne Simmonds' setback is uncertain, but it prevented him from taking the ice Thursday, according to CSN's Tim Panaccio. It remains to be seen if the setback will threaten Simmonds' availability for the Flyers' season opener.