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Penguins notebook: Iginla open to return next season

| Sunday, June 9, 2013, 6:24 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Jarome Iginla speaks to the media as players clean out their lockers Sunday, June 9, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

Despite being demoted to the third line and seldom seeing playoff time on the first power-play unit, Jarome Iginla wouldn't mind returning to the Penguins next season.

Iginla, a future hall-of-famer, will become a free agent July 5 if he doesn't re-sign with the Penguins by then.

“I think I'll have a better year next year,” Iginla said. “Maybe it will be here in Pittsburgh.”

Iginla had five goals and 11 points in 13 regular-season games with the Penguins following a stunning March trade that saw Calgary deal its longtime captain.

In the postseason, Iginla had four goals and 12 points in 15 games.

Iginla has 530 career goals, but coach Dan Bylsma opted to shift him from his natural right wing spot to the left wing alongside side center Evgeni Malkin and right wing James Neal.

“I was open to it,” Iginla said. “They talked about switching Nealer, but he was comfortable at right. I was open to playing on the left. At times, I wasn't as good there as I should have been,”

Iginla said he doesn't believe he played his best hockey this season and intends on making improvements next season.

“I know I'm 35, and I know what people will say,” he said. “But I think it will be a good challenge.”

Playing in pain

Defenseman Paul Martin, among the Penguins' best postseason performers, participated in the playoffs with what Bylsma called a “significant” injury.

Martin did not practice with the Penguins during the Boston series and did not participate in the two morning skates before Games 3 and 4.

He still managed to earn an assist on both Penguins goals during the Eastern Conference final.

Martin, who rebounded from two subpar seasons, finished the postseason with two goals and 11 points. He was a plus-5 in 15 playoff games.

Crosby feeling fine

Sidney Crosby endured the effects of a broken jaw and a number of nasty hits during playoff action in the last few months.

Crosby said that his jaw, broken March 30, is perfectly fine.

“It's healed,” he said. “No issues there. I could probably use a few teeth.”

He'll receive temporary teeth in an operation Monday.

Crosby also could receive his second career MVP this week in a ceremony Friday in Chicago.

Murray hopes to stay

Free agency looms for defenseman Douglas Murray, but he would like to remain with the Penguins.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It's a very special team. It's a great organization.”

Murray was acquired from San Jose late in the regular season and provided a physical presence on the Penguins' blue line.

He aided the team's penalty killing, which had been shaky much of the season.

“This is going to be a great team for many years to come,” Murray said. “It's something you want to be a part of.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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