Penguins notebook: Bennett needs surgery again
Winger Beau Bennett will have surgery next week on the same hand/wrist that was injured and forced him to miss 50 games during the regular season.
Bennett, who also had a lower-body injury earlier in the season and was limited to 21 regular-season games, called himself “useless” against the New York Rangers and was a scratch for Game 7 of the second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Bennett was limited to one goal and five points in 12 playoff games.
“I couldn't make plays. I couldn't push on guys,” said Bennett, speaking as the Penguins cleaned out their lockers Thursday at Consol Energy Center. “Hopefully I don't have to deal with that feeling that I can't do it anymore.”
When Bennett had surgery in November, coach Dan Bylsma labeled the injury as a “broken wrist/hand.” However, on his Twitter account Thursday night, Bennett disputed the extent of his injury, saying, “For the record, I've never broken my wrist. Or hand.”
The injury was its most painful during the last 20 games of the season, Bennett said. He was injured Nov. 22 against the New York Islanders but was supposed to return in eight to 10 weeks. A setback in late February delayed that.
Surgery will require a cast.
“It's unfortunate,” Bennett said. “The surgery is supposed to do a job. It's no one's fault. It didn't work out the way we wanted it to.
“The next step is something I feel a lot more comfortable about. It's kind of the last straw for me to work out and play to the best of my ability.”
Winger Pascal Dupuis has been biking regularly and insists he's on schedule to return from a torn ACL.
“Obviously it's a long process, but it's feeling great,” Dupuis said. “With the time frame they gave me, I'll be ready for camp, and hopefully I'll be there.
Asked whether there's any doubt he'll be ready for October, Dupuis answered, “Not at all.”
More Letang misery
Defenseman Kris Letang's lousy season ended appropriately.
His left hand was broken while blocking a shot Tuesday. He will not require surgery.
Letang played in only 37 games during the regular season. He missed time with a strained knee and infected elbow and because of a stroke.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik, the Penguins' longest-tenured player, did not speak with reporters.
Orpik missed the final three games of the Rangers series because of a right-knee injury that the Penguins believe would have sidelined him for the remainder of the playoffs. He was hurt during a collision with Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello early in Game 4.
With no member of the coaching staff or management available to provide season-ending injury updates, the nature of Orpik's injury was not made public, though he had been stabilizing the knee with a mechanical brace.
Orpik is slated to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta acknowledged his first NHL season was an eye-opener.
Maatta had just one assist over his final 15 regular-season games and four points — all assists — in 13 playoff games.
“It's a long season. It is a grind,” Maatta said. “It's something new for me, for sure. I've played a lot of games, but not at this level. And I'm sure it affected me at some point.”
Several notable players did not speak with the media.
Defensemen Paul Martin, Matt Niskanen and Rob Scuderi did not talk, nor did forwards James Neal and Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin walked into the locker room, waved off reporters and said he would be back but never returned.
Around the boards
Malkin will play for Russia at the World Championships in Belarus. … Winger Brian Gibbons was re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. He will play for the Penguins' affiliate in the Calder Cup playoffs.