Bennett learning from Penguins' veterans
SUNRISE, Fla. — It remains to be seen whether rookie Beau Bennett will make an impact for the Penguins during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The lessons he is learning, though, figure to pay off well into the future.
Bennett, the precocious winger who produced three points in the Penguins' 3-0 southern road trip, is surrounded by veterans who have willingly shown him the ropes.
“I'm not the kind of guy who says a lot,” Bennett said. “I just try to watch and learn. I mean, look around at all these guys. You can learn a lot.”
The Penguins already had a number of respected veterans when Bennett broke into the league earlier this season.
Now, they are oozing with wise, experienced players. Bennett believes their presence will expedite his NHL learning curve and make him a better person off the ice.
“The biggest thing is just how all the guys on this team are just such good people,” Bennett said. “Just the way they handle themselves off the ice, it's really impressive. You learn how to be a professional pretty quickly.”
When it was mentioned that a young player could learn much from recently acquired veterans like Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow — to say nothing of 30-something Stanley Cup champions like Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Craig Adams, Brooks Orpik and Mark Eaton — coach Dan Bylsma agreed that Bennett's environment couldn't be much better.
“I think it's beneficial for him to be surrounded by guys like that,” Bylsma said. “There are a lot of experienced guys, character guys. It's an impressive group in there.”
And the veterans are impressed with the rookie.
Starting in the team's abbreviated training camp, many of the older Penguins have been blown away not only by Bennett's skill level but also by the tenacity in his game. The knock on Bennett when he was drafted in 2010 was that he wasn't especially physical or strong on the boards.
Those opinions suddenly have changed.
“He has been physical in his recent games,” Bylsma said. “He was one of our most physical guys in the Carolina game.”
The southern road trip, in fact, was Bennett's best showing during his brief NHL career. Along with being physical in Raleigh, he scored the game-tying goal of an eventual 5-3 victory that clinched the Atlantic Division title.
He was even better a few nights later in Florida, setting up the Penguins' first two goals while nearly scoring a couple of his own.
“There are a lot of guys who play the game the right way in this locker room,” Morrow said.
Bennett certainly has adapted his style, as evidenced by how he threw his body into a number of Panthers on Saturday. Playing limited minutes and often on the fourth line, Bennett knows his future role will probably be different. But he's learning how to play playoff-style hockey with some of the game's most respected veterans.
“I'm growing,” he said. “I'm learning the game.”
NOTE: The Penguins did not practice Sunday, choosing instead to spend Saturday night in Florida before returning home Sunday. They next play at home Wednesday against Montreal.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.