Penguins notebook: Engelland embraces temporary position switch
PHILADELPHIA — Deryk Engelland wants to play.
That is true even if it means playing a different position.
Engelland, a defenseman, skated as a winger on the Penguins' fourth line against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.
“He's done it before,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “We know he has an understanding of what the position implies.”
The implication was that Engelland, a reputable fighter, was needed for a showdown with the traditionally roughhousing but struggling Flyers — desperate for any spark after winning once in seven prior contests.
“We like having that grit in the lineup,” Bylsma said of Engelland.
“It's not just necessarily against the Flyers.”
Engelland had practiced as a winger for three sessions, Bylsma said.
Engelland said he played once previously in the NHL as a forward — against Montreal two years ago — and also in “a few games” while with Las Vegas of the East Coast Hockey League.
He has played in only two of the Penguins' previous six contests.
Though he did not endorse a full-time position switch — also, nobody associated with the Penguins has hinted that is a possibility — Engelland said he prefers playing at forward than sitting as a defenseman.
Everybody form a line
Winger Dustin Jeffrey was a healthy scratch for the Penguins against the Flyers. Engelland replaced him in the lineup.
Jeffrey's ice time had decreased in each of the past two games.
With Jeffrey out, winger Harry Zolnierczyk and center Joe Vitale worked with Engelland on the fourth line.
Wingers Tanner Glass and Craig Adams were promoted to the third line with center Brandon Sutter.
Playing Engelland on the fourth line allowed Bylsma to reunite the defense pairing of Olli Maatta and Robert Bortuzzo.
Maatta had played with Engelland in two prior contests and registered a minus-2 rating.
He was an even player in his opening four NHL games.
Maatta, 19, can play in only two more games before this season counts as the first of his entry-level contract. He cannot play in the AHL because of an arrangement between the NHL and Hockey Canada.
Defenseman Kris Letang is doubling up on his daily on-ice activity, but there is “no timetable” for returning to play, Bylsma said Thursday.
Letang participated in a game-day practice, but he has had only one full session since rejoining teammates last week.
A Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist last season, Letang's knee was injured Sept. 27 in a practice at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He has yet to play this season.
Winger Matt D'Agostini (lower body) practiced with Penguins teammates for the second consecutive day. He remains on the long-term injury list and cannot play until Oct. 26.
Right wingers James Neal (upper body) and Beau Bennett (lower body) did not practice at Philadelphia.
Neal is out indefinitely. He was re-injured against New Jersey on Oct. 3. Bennett is day-to-day. He was injured at Tampa Bay last Saturday.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
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.
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal