Pens' Adams baffled by ejection from game
NEWARK, N.J. — Penguins forward Craig Adams heard multiple explanations for the charging call that led to a game misconduct and his ejection Friday night. He wasn't happy with any of them.
"The first linesman told me it was icing, which it wasn't," Adams said. "The second linesman told me it was a high-sticking call, which if you watch the replay, I'm about 10 or 15 feet past the linesman before he makes the signal that it's a high stick, so I have no way of knowing it's a high stick.
"As far as I was concerned, it was just a regular forecheck. Somebody told me I jumped and left my feet, which you clearly see that I didn't. So I'm baffled. People can decide for themselves."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he was "a little bit" surprised, too.
"I didn't expect a major," Bylsma said.
» With Evgeni Malkin a minus-10 over the past 18 games and a minus-5 for the season — which ranks 629th in the NHL — Bylsma was asked if Malkin's two-way play has been addressed.
"Sometimes, the statistics can be deceiving as to how a player is playing," Bylsma said. "I think since the break, he's come out with a rejuvenated effort in terms of playing on both sides of the puck and playing away from the puck. He's outstanding with the puck — he's dynamic with the puck — but sometimes he wants to go get it and have it at all times and keep it at all times."
Bylsma credited Malkin with improving his play on defense, playing away from the puck and his management of it in the offensive zone. Bylsma said Malkin's past six games — in which he is minus-4 — "have been probably his best away from the puck and managing the puck all year long."
» The Penguins took the opening faceoff with a line centered by Jordan Staal, who was flanked by left wing Matt Cooke and right wing Bill Guerin. The second line saw Malkin with Alexei Ponikarovsky and Ruslan Fedotenko, and the third with Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. But Bylsma switched the lines up with regularity, as Dupuis also skated on the fourth line with Max Talbot and Mike Rupp.
» Tyler Kennedy was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game and appears to be the odd-man out at the moment with the Penguins' abundance of forwards. Kennedy hasn't scored a goal in 16 games and has only four since scoring five in the first nine games of the season.
"It's not an easy decision, to say this guy should not be in the lineup tonight," Bylsma said. "He will get back in there. He's a very good player, a player who's done a lot of good things and adds a lot to our lineup. It's not a situation where he's not going to get back in there anytime soon."
The Penguins' other scratches were right wing Eric Godard and defenseman Jay McKee.
» New Jersey defenseman Martin Skoula, who played 33 games for the Penguins this season, told the Newark Star-Ledger he was anxious to face his former team "to show them that they made a mistake trading me." Skoula was part of the March 2 deal that brought Ponikarovsky to the Penguins. The next day, Toronto traded Skoula to the Devils for a fifth-round draft pick. Skoula was involved in a couple of skirmishes, first drawing a first-period penalty for holding Guerin and later was on the receiving end of a shot that culminated in Craig Adams getting a five-minute major for charging and an accompanying game misconduct.