Penguins notebook: Winger Beau Bennett fine on either line
Beau Bennett is a winger, and that is enough of a description for him.
Practiced since his youth hockey days on the right side, Bennett will play on the left with center Evgeni Malkin and right winger James Neal when the Penguins open their schedule of six exhibition games at Columbus on Sunday night.
The Penguins' 2010 first-round pick, Bennett impressed coaches and management in 26 games as a rookie last season. His three goals and 14 points left less of an impression than an overall maturity, quick processing of the system and strength on the puck.
All of that — along with an easy-going nature — has convinced coaches Bennett is a potential ideal complement for Malkin and Neal, who have shown chemistry with one another, but with only Chris Kunitz as the other player on their line.
Kunitz will remain the left winger for center Sidney Crosby.
Bennett, coach Dan Bylsma has said several times over three days of camp practices, could play the left side on Malkin's line or the right side on a third line centered by Brandon Sutter.
“People talk about it a lot more than I think about it,” Bennett said. “If it's (Malkin and Neal) or (Sutter and winger Matt D'Agostini), learning how to play with each combo is more important than my role.”
Still, Bennett's arrival at camp with more of a muscular build and growing confidence has not escaped the attention of Malkin or Neal.
He played with them occasionally before the Penguins' acquisition of Jarome Iginla last season and took away some tips for the future.
“With that line, it's not about what side you are playing but what you come into the (offensive) zone as,” Bennett said.
“(Malkin and Neal) are pretty freewheeling, so the best thing to do is read off them — and I'm fine with that. They know what they're doing.”
Crosby to play at home
Coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday that most of the Penguins' anticipated regulars will play in one of the two exhibition games over the next two nights.
Aside from the No. 2 scoring line, starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, checking-line forwards Tanner Glass and Joe Vitale, and defensemen Rob Scuderi and Matt Niskanen are the notables who will play at Columbus.
Crosby, the Penguins' captain, said he would play against Detroit at Consol Energy Center on Monday night.
Despres in good shape
Skating tests wrapped Saturday with Crosby's Group C, and right winger Pascal Dupuis — as predicted by Crosby — paced the grueling examinations.
The real winner over three days of skating tests may have been defenseman Simon Despres, who opted to participate despite an illness on Thursday. He lagged behind during the tests — a sight that appeared to indicate his lack of conditioning.
Not so, Bylsma said Saturday.
“When we started camp, Simon was in a situation where I would say almost 100 percent of the time during the regular season he would not have practiced,” Bylsma said. “He didn't want to take that out … to his credit, he battled through what was probably the toughest day.
“He got through Day 1, and I'm pretty happy he did do that.”
Fleury rebounded from a shaky Day 1 scrimmage — four goals on the first five shots faced Thursday — to pitch a first-half shutout on Saturday in front of several thousand fans at Consol Energy Center.
Group A, a squad led by defenseman Brooks Orpik, beat Malkin's Group C, 3-0.
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.
- Pouliot scores in NHL debut as Penguins tame Panthers, 3-1
- Penguins notebook: Memorable night for Pouliot, Trocheck
- Fleury’s career-best 6th shutout lifts Penguins over Avalanche in overtime
- Penguins notebook: Kunitz ‘really close’ to return
- Penguins star Crosby talks about his experience with mumps
- Penguins notebook: Zatkoff returns to team as Fleury’s backup
- With 3 more players possibly affected, Pens’ mumps fight escalates
- Penguins continue to thrive, despite spate of ailments
- Penguins defenseman Letang having best season in new system
- Mumps confirmed for Penguins’ Bennett; team intern also affected
- Penguins player might have exposed Children’s Hospital patients to mumps