Penguins notebook: Forward Zolnierczyk senses opportunity
By Josh Yohe
Published: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
Most of the participants in Monday's exhibition game against the Blackhawks are cemented regulars in the Penguins' lineup.
Forward Harry Zolnierczyk was in the lineup, too. And he couldn't be more grateful.
“I'm doing everything I can to make this team and to show everyone what I can do,” Zolnierczyk said. “So, yeah, when I saw I was in the lineup, it made me very happy.”
Zolnierczyk is clearly a player who has gotten coach Dan Bylsma's attention. The Penguins acquired Zolnierczyk during the summer because he brings a physical edge and speed to the lineup, and he's displayed both attributes this preseason. He created a stir against Columbus on Saturday when he nearly obliterated defenseman Jack Skille with a violent hit.
“He's one of the guys who has (gotten our attention),” Bylsma said.
Zolnierczyk began his career with the Flyers. He grew a name for himself by being physical in Philadelphia, and with departing physical players like Matt Cooke, Brenden Morrow, Tyler Kennedy and Douglas Murray not replaced during the summer, he feels he could fill a need.
“I feel good about how I've done this camp,” he said. “The more chances I get to play, the better.”
A sampling of the Penguins locker room indicated the team was divided about the brawl that took place Sunday between the Maple Leafs and the Sabres. Some players felt it was embarrassing, some felt it was amusing, and others were indifferent.
Buffalo enforcer John Scott challenged Toronto star Phil Kessel to a fight, which resulted in a series of slashes and spears from Kessel, Toronto's David Clarkson leaving the bench, and a goaltender fight between Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Toronto's Jonathan Bernier.
“It's tough to form an opinion because I don't know what all was going on before that stuff,” Zolnierczyk said. “But I know I haven't seen a hockey game like that in a while.”
No Vokoun update
Bylsma said no update will be available on goaltender Tomas Vokoun for at least one more day. Vokoun had surgery to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis Saturday.
Vokoun, who was diagnosed with pelvic thrombophlebitis in 2006 while playing with the Predators, continues to rest following the procedure. It remains unknown whether his current problem is related with the condition he was diagnosed with seven years ago.
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