Penguins notebook: Team hopes to avoid post-Olympic rust
• It would be understandable if the Penguins were to emerge in sluggish form from the Olympic break. After all, more than half the team hasn't played a game in almost three weeks, seven players could be fatigued from making it to the Olympic medal round, and there isn't a sense of urgency. The Penguins lead the Metropolitan Division by 16 points over the Rangers. “I think it will be just the opposite,” left wing Tanner Glass said. “I think a lot of us probably needed a little bit of a break. I think we're going to come out strong.” Twenty-four games remain on the Penguins' regular-season schedule, and the most difficult stretch of is imminent. Of 16 teams the Penguins face in March, 13 would currently qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Although workouts during the past week have been grueling, the Penguins believe they could result in a fast start beginning Thursday when they host the Canadiens. “It's been pretty good for us,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “And the good thing is that (assistant coach) Todd (Reirden) has done a really good job of keeping the drills and practices fresh every day.”
• Right wing Brian Gibbons was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the Olympic break, but he has been recalled. Gibbons figures to resume skating on the top line with center Sidney Crosby and left wing Chris Kunitz.
• The Penguins don't expect their Olympians and coaching staff to completely reunite until Wednesday's practice at Consol Energy Center.
• Right wing Beau Bennett (broken wrist) still hasn't been cleared practice with the team. His return date is unknown.
— Josh Yohe
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