Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/11/13 at 08:44 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
- James Neal, the Penguins’ right winger, has had a frustrating start to the new season – out with an upper body injury – but is back skating with the Penguins. Pittsburgh had penciled in Neal and Beau Bennett as the wingers on their No. 2 line with Evgeni Malkin, but both have missed extensive time with injuries. Both are back now – Neal playing 17-plus minutes in his return Saturday, Bennett about 11 – in the Penguins’ loss to the Bruins. Their return should help Malkin get going again. With a rotating cast of wingers, the former MVP and scoring champion was tied for 37th in the NHL scoring race after Sunday’s games, with 15 points in 17 games.
- The Ducks signed Dustin Penner to a one-year, $2-million contract as a free agent last summer, hoping that the chance to return to his original NHL team – where he won a Stanley Cup in 2007 – would get his career back on the rails. Penner was given a chance to play with Getzlaf and Perry in training camp and made the least of his opportunity. He wasn’t very good; he eventually was demoted to the fourth line and was a healthy scratch earlier in the season. But Ducks’ coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t a guy who holds a long grudge and believes in second chances, so after trying mostly Patrick Maroon up on the No. 1 line, he eventually put Penner back with Getzlaf and Perry. This time, it clicked. Penner had four points Friday night in a 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, as did Getzlaf, but the most remarkable part of his turnaround is this: He is a plus-18 through his first 12 games of the season, which is the highest by any NHL player since the 1984-85 season when a trio of players, led by Wayne Gretzky, at plus-28, had better plus-minus ratings.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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