Penguins' Bylsma gives Bennett vote of confidence
The Penguins believe left wing Beau Bennett will play a big role in their future.
Starting Thursday, they will give him a chance to thrive in the present.
The precocious Bennett hardly has looked out of place in the NHL through eight games, and the Penguins have decided to play him on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal against the Flyers.
“That's the line he's going to play with,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “All three periods.”
Bylsma acknowledged situational strategies occasionally could dictate that another center or left wing Matt Cooke skate on that line, but Bennett is going to receive an extended look.
Such a scenario seemed unlikely Monday when Bennett was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. However, that move merely was procedural because a roster spot needed to be opened for Malkin's return.
When left wing Zach Boychuk was claimed off waivers by Nashville on Tuesday morning, Bennett was recalled, which was always the plan.
“It was a pretty crazy 24 hours,” Bennett said. “I'm just happy to be here.”
Bennett, who has recorded three points in his past four games, does not shy away from the opportunity of playing a top-six role. A skilled player who the Penguins selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Bennett said he is becoming more comfortable each game and would revel in the opportunity of playing with two of the Penguins' stars.
“I've skated with those guys a couple of times before,” Bennett said. “The more we practice, the more chemistry we'll build. Those guys are so good with the puck, I just try to find open space and get out of their way.”
Some of his teammates roll their eyes at Bennett's modesty.
His skill level, they believe, makes Bennett worthy of sharing the ice with Malkin and Neal.
“I've been pleasantly surprised with him,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “I mean, you see him in street clothes and you say, ‘Who is this kid?' But then you see him play and you're so impressed. He just thinks the game so well. He's a really smart player and makes so many good plays with the puck. I think we've all been very impressed with him. For a rookie, he's been so good.”
The defensemen who face Bennett in practice said they believe he could be in line for a bigger role.
He primarily has skated on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Tyler Kennedy.
“The skill jumps out at you,” defenseman Mark Eaton said. “I saw that right away. The more comfortable he gets, the better he'll get.”
Bennett's skill never has been questioned, nor has his presence in the locker room.
The Penguins' roster is filled with a galaxy of stars, and though Bennett still is learning and respects his elders, he immediately blended with the veterans.
“What a great kid,” Eaton said.
Niskanen said Bennett “fit in immediately” in the locker room.
Now, he'll try to fit in on Malkin's line.
“It'll be fun,” Bennett said. “I don't put too much pressure on myself. I just want to make plays and get those guys the puck.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers opt for youth, speed while revamping roster
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Biertempfel: First base becoming new hot corner for Pirates
- Pirates’ Polanco runs into rookie wall
- 3 wrecks Saturday keep emergency responders busy
- Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett’s Medicaid change expected to have little impact with voters
- Pirates edge Reds, 3-2, for 4th consecutive victory
- Starkey: Pitt does its duty
- Corbett administration fumbled Tomalis response
- States clear way for startups to use crowdfunding
- Pirates minor league report: Bell concluding breakout season