ShareThis Page

Penguins notebook: Zolnierczyk adds grit

| Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 8:18 p.m.
The Penguins' Harry Zolinierczyk plays against the Oilers on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Harry Zolinierczyk plays against the Oilers on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said earlier this week a third-line-style player likely would be recalled if forward Beau Bennett couldn't play against Edmonton on Tuesday.

He wasn't lying. There isn't an abundance of finesse in Harry Zolnierczyk's game, which is precisely what the Penguins like about him.

Zolnierczyk was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and immediately placed on the third line alongside center Brandon Sutter and left wing Dustin Jeffrey.

True to form, the former Flyers agitator found himself in a couple of scrums against the Oilers and was looking to deliver some punishment throughout.

“I know what my job is,” Zolnierczyk said. “I want to be able to create some energy out there.”

Zolnierczyk scored three goals in three games at the AHL this season.

“I want to be able to provide some offense, too,” he said. “It was good to get the call. I'm excited.”

Bennett's lower-body injury isn't believed to be a long-term concern. He is being listed as day-to-day.

Letang update

Up next for defenseman Kris Letang is participating in a full practice, Bylsma said Tuesday.

Letang has participated in two game-day practices and joined teammates for 30 minutes of a full practice Monday.

“For right now, it's just trying to feel comfortable out there,” Letang said, adding that resuming physical contact “was a good first test.”

“I mean, there was some discomfort, but I can go with it. We're going a day at a time.”

Letang was injured Sept. 27. There is no timetable for his return.

More injuries

Right winger James Neal (upper body) was placed on injured reserve. He has not practiced since leaving a game against New Jersey on Oct. 3. He remains week-to-week.

Neal was placed on long term injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 3, which means he is eligible to return to the lineup Oct. 28 in Raleigh.

Left winger Matt D'Agostini (lower body) also did not practice Tuesday. He is on track to practice next week, Bylsma said.

Long walk home

A voice of the Edmonton Oilers is from Meadville.

Jack Michaels, a broadcaster for the Oilers Radio Network, called his second NHL game in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He joined the Oilers in 2010 after eight years calling minor league games in Alaska and Colorado.

Michaels said his career path started in the mid-1990s after meeting former Penguins broadcaster Matt McConnell.

“I was a football, basketball baseball guy like a lot of people,” Michaels said. “Matt said, ‘You know, not a lot of people can call hockey,' so I thought that might give me more opportunities.

“He was right.”

Pizza night

Bylsma was joined by right wing Pascal Dupuis, right wing Chuck Kobasew, left wing Jussi Jokinen, and defensemen Olli Maatta and Deryk Engelland in delivering pizzas to the student rush line a couple of hours before the Penguins hosted the Oilers.

Engelland was in the lineup ahead of defenseman Robert Bortuzzo.

Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Rossi at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib. Reach Yohe at or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.