Penguins notebook: Bennett likely to play in St. Louis
By Josh Yohe
Published: Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 6:42 p.m.
• Right wing Beau Bennett appears ready to return from injury. Following a full week of practices, Bennett said he doesn't see any reason why he won't play Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. Bennett was injured Oct. 12 in Tampa Bay but finally feels better. “It was another good day today,” Bennett said. “It's starting to get better and better when I skate. It feels like I'm on track.” Bennett doesn't anticipate any conditioning problems. Getting his feel for the game back, though, might take some time. “It's just hockey timing that you worry about,” he said. “It's about getting the timing back and being in the right spot. When you take time off, that's what you really lose. I'm feeling good in practice, but I know the game is a whole new animal. Hopefully I'll be ready.”
• The Penguins haven't received much luck on the injury front this season, but the team's health suddenly seems to be on an upswing. Right wing Pascal Dupuis, who did not play in the third period Wednesday against the Rangers and wasn't on the ice at Thursday's practice, returned to Friday's workout and pronounced himself ready to play in St. Louis. Defenseman Paul Martin has missed two straight days of practice but is expected to participate in Saturday's morning skate. Dan Bylsma, like all NHL coaches, is wary of divulging injury information, but the coach expects Martin to play. “I've got to get my football terminology down,” Bylsma said. “It's probably that Paul will play.”
• Right wing Matt D'Agostini scored in 31 of his 47 career NHL games while playing for the Blues. Given that the Penguins play in St. Louis on Saturday, Bylsma admitted that D'Agostini might be reinstated into the Penguins' lineup. The right wing has been a healthy scratch during the past four games after missing the first three weeks of the season with a lower-body injury. “There is some thought to him — being that this is his former team, before (he played for) New Jersey — yes, that goes into it,” Bylsma said. “We're going to go with the lineup that gives us the best chance to win the game.”
• Right wing James Neal practiced again with the Penguins, the third consecutive day that he has skated with the team. Neal won't play against St. Louis but appears on track to make a return at some point within the next week. He hasn't played since sustaining an injury in the first period against New Jersey in the Penguins' season opener. Neal worked on the top power play during Friday's practice along with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang.
• Joe Vitale, a St. Louis native, invited all of his teammates to his parents' home for dinner Friday night. Bylsma noted that Vitale played an exceptional game when the Penguins last played in St. Louis two years ago.
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