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Penguins notebook: Glass says his mission is to kill penalties

| Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 12:14 p.m.
Penguins winger Tanner Glass has 12 goals and 260 penalty minutes during his three-year NHL career. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Tanner Glass during practice at Consol Energy Center Jan. 8, 2013. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

Before embarking on a professional hockey career, Penguins winger Tanner Glass was a history major at Dartmouth.

After an informal practice session Tuesday at Consol Energy Center, Glass was asked what he plans to do with his degree.

“Kill penalties,” he said.

That's why the Penguins signed him to a two-year contract July 1 on the first day of free agency, only a little more than hour after they contacted him.

“I felt like Pittsburgh wanted me as their No. 1 priority,” he said.

Although he was academically superior to many of his classmates at Lumsden High School in Saskatchewan, Glass always knew hockey was his destiny — even if he has been largely unnoticed since first becoming an NHL regular in 2009 with the Vancouver Canucks.

“The other guys can get the points,” said Glass, who has 12 goals and 260 penalty minutes in three seasons with the Canucks and Winnipeg Jets (2011-12). “I don't mind being under the radar at all. That's how I fit best, to go out there and grind. I'll get my hits in.”

Glass, 29, said he “hangs his hat” on his penalty-killing skills, but he said assistant coach Tony Granato made him no promises during their meeting this week.

“That's kind of the way I like it,” Glass said. “I like to prove what I can do.”

Glass said he may take some time to get accustomed to coach Dan Bylsma's system.

“There is a lot to learn, but I should grasp it pretty quickly,” he said. “It's unfortunate that we won't have too many exhibition games to kind of feel out how the coach runs the bench. But that being said, it's kind of nice not to think about anything, just get going and get after it.

“I've been playing this game long enough that there is nothing that is too new.”

Uncertainty erased

During the last 3 12 weeks of the lockout, Glass played for a team in Slovakia, where he said he was worried about the fate of the NHL season.

“I'd be lying if I said I was always confident,” he said. “But deep down in my heart, I think I knew there was going to be a season. But with the way things were going there for a while, it was kind of touch and go. I'm glad we're going now.”

Glass, who returned to the United States on Sunday, said the Slovakian game didn't especially fit his style of play.

“It's not as structured, not as defensive,” he said. “It's a little free-flowing for my style of game.”

Life after hockey

Former Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson has been working out with the team during informal workouts, but he probably won't return Wednesday when new backup Tomas Vokoun is expected in town.

Johnson, who turns 36 in March, spent the past three seasons with the Penguins but remains a free agent.

“It looks pretty slim out there,” he said. “I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If it happens, it happens. I'm ready. I'm in shape.”

Meanwhile, he is living in the Avonworth School District, spending time with his family and considering starting a hockey school with former Penguins employee Frank Buonomo.

Josh Yohe contributed to this story. Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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