By Larry Snyder
The Pittsburgh Penguins disclosed Wednesday that Olli Maatta suffered an upper body injury during Tuesday’s 4-3 home victory over the Minnesota Wild. The team maintains this upper body mishap is in no way related to his previous injuries. He is still in the hospital under observation and will be re-examined later today.
According to Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette, the good news is that Maatta did not seem to suffer any damage to his internal organs. Bob McKenzie of TSN is reporting that there appears to be soft tissue and muscle damage to his mid-section.
The injury occurred at 10:04 of the second period when right-wing Nino Niedererreiter struck Maatta in the back and sent him into the side of the open door on the Wild bench. Minnesota backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper had just opened the door on the bench to allow his teammates to exit from the ice. It is an event that happens multiple times in any hockey contest.
The native of Jyvaskyla, Finland laid on the ice for some time before being helped out through the Wild bench. It appeared that Maatta could not any pressure on his right leg.
According to multiple news sources including NBC Sports, the defenseman was taken out of CONSOL Energy Center on a stretcher to a local hospital.
Maatta has suffered more than his fair share of injuries over his 116-game career in the National Hockey League. He has had to deal with two shoulder surgeries along with a case of the mumps and thyroid cancer.
The 21-year-old Finn was the first round pick of the Penguins at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. His stat line lists two goals and two assists for a total of four points in 18 contests. One of his two scores this season was a game winner. He also collected 17 shots and four penalty minutes.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound blueliner is under an entry-level contract for the 2015-2016 campaign. Maatta will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
UPDATE #2: The Penguins issued a statement just before noon that Maatta was released from the hospital. He is going to miss 3-4 weeks with an upper body injury.
Next Up: The second contest of a four-game homestand for the Black and Gold (11-7-0, 22 points) is Thursday, Nov. 19 against the Colorado Avalanche (7-10-1, 15 points). They meet at center ice at 7 p.m. You can catch every face-off on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.