Kukla's Korner

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Hockey Notes - Duhatschek Style

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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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com