Bennett right at home with Pens
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Beau Bennett had no idea what to expect three weeks ago — only that he likely was to be selected at some point in the first round of the NHL draft.
In the days that followed, Bennett was drafted by the Penguins, personally welcomed to the club by Sidney Crosby and forced to deal with a media presence he had never experienced.
By the time this week's annual developmental camp rolled around, hockey had become the easy part for the highest-drafted Californian.
"I'm more nervous talking with people and that kind of stuff," the 18-year-old said. "On the ice, all the nerves go away. I have a passion for it."
Bennett has looked perfectly comfortable during the first two days of camp at Southpointe. A shifty skater with soft hands, Bennett has shown some flashes that illustrate why the Penguins were pleased to nab him with the 20th selection.
Of course, the right winger remains a work in progress. Bennett will play this winter at the University of Denver, working hard to increase his strength. Merely observing him practice against some of the Penguins' other prospects made it clear that Bennett's body is far from NHL-ready.
"These guys are a lot stronger than me," he said.
Bennett hopes that playing college hockey will greatly augment his biggest weakness. While crafting his game at the NCAA level, Bennett will be spending plenty of time in the weight room.
"Strength is definitely what I need to work on," he said. "Going the college route is something that will help me take it to heart. I'll be in the gym four or five times a week."
Bennett's story is interesting because he's from California, which has never been confused with a hockey hotbed. Ultimately, though, the scouting report on him is similar to that of most talented high school wingers. Other than getting bigger, Bennett needs to improve his defensive play to someday make an impact with the Penguins.
"(Denver) lost a lot of good players last year," he said. "I just want to fit into a top-six role, get more defensive play in my game and just get better."
Bennett recently played in the British Columbia Hockey League. His travels in hockey have twice brought him to Pittsburgh, and he made his intentions clear that he'd like this to be his residence at some point.
"I do like the area," he said. "It's nice to see first-hand."
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach Todd Reirden, who is running the camp, said he is excited to begin molding the talented winger. The system being introduced to Bennett is likely the same he will encounter on a line with Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in a few years.
"I've never seen guys like Beau Bennett play," Reirden said. "The drills we do here are the same as in Wilkes-Barre and the same as in Pittsburgh. It's a great introduction."
Bennett realizes he likely won't receive his official introduction to the NHL for a few years, but he wants to make a good first impression.
"I'll be a little rusty," he said. "But hopefully, by the end of the week, I'll be in full form."
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.
- Penguins assistant coach Tocchet wants Letang to shoot more on power play
- Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
- Penguins notebook: Team celebrates ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ event
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Penguins look to buck shots, goals trend
- Penguins notebook: Carcillo has no hard feelings after failing to make roster
- Penguins notebook: Jagr still an impact player in 23rd season
- Maatta had been back in groove after offseason surgery
- Penguins assistant coach Tocchet marvels at Maatta’s demeanor
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Penguins’ Crosby OK with Neal comments about trade