Penguins Notebook: Adams enters 700 career games club


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Forward Craig Adams became the second Penguins player this season to reach 700 career NHL games when he played Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings at Consol Energy Center.

"I'm proud to have played that long," he said. "I don't think they're going to have any ceremonies or anything, but it's a good one."

Forward Richard Park reached 700 games earlier this season, and forward Pascal Dupuis is one game behind Adams in making that 700 club.

Adams, 34, is with his third NHL club. He was claimed off of waivers by the Penguins in March 2009 and has won Stanley Cup titles with them and with Carolina.

"When you look back over a pretty long career, there are a lot of ups and downs, times when things don't look too good," he said. "You don't know how much longer you're going to keep playing. So to still be going, to feel like I have a role here is a good feeling."

Adams, a Harvard graduate, grew up in Calgary, Alberta, but was born in Brunei. He figures if nothing else, he has the market cornered on guys born in that Southeast Asian sultanate who have won two Cup titles.

"I don't think anyone else from Brunei even has one," he cracked.

Injuries

Detroit's injury list going into the game had two names.

The Penguins had nine -- Sidney Crosby , Kris Letang , Zbynek Michalek , Dustin Jeffrey , Robert Bortuzzo , Ben Lovejoy , Richard Park , Brian Strait and Jordan Staal . And that didn't include center Evgeni Malkin , who missed the morning skate, although he and Staal were in the lineup. And it didn't address Jason Williams , who was recalled Tuesday from the American Hockey League.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn't taking any delight in what might have been tilted scales.

"I'd like Sid to be playing, Malkin, Staal -- all the best players. Letang," he said. "Those are really high-end players. [ Marc-Andre ] Fleury in net.

"They've got a real good team here. But what they've done, too, in my opinion, is [general manager] Ray Shero [has] done a good job. He adds more."

Babcock said the Penguins acquisition of James Neal and Matt Niskanen in February is a prime example.

"If you keep adding to your team, you have a chance to stay on top," he said.

Which, Babcock figures, puts a team ahead of the pack.

"The way it works is, if you take your turn, you win the Stanley Cup every 30 years. Most of us are too greedy for that," said Babcock, who led Detroit past the Penguins for the 2008 Stanley Cup before the tables were turned the following year.

Next-best place

Speedy winger Chris Conner had his best season in 2010-11 with the Penguins. He had seven goals, 16 points in 60 games, by far the most he has played in the NHL.

Returning after his contract expired in July didn't work out, but Conner found probably the next-best thing -- this native of Livonia, Mich., near Detroit signed with the Red Wings.

"Growing up, I was definitely a Red Wings fan," he said. "I used to go to games there once or twice a year with my dad.

"I was excited to have the opportunity to sign with them. They're a great organization. I'm really happy with the situation I'm in right now."

Conner, 27, began the season with Grand Rapids of the AHL but got recalled at the start of this month and Tuesday played in his sixth game in a row. He had a goal and an assist over his first five games.

Voting

Although he is again out because of concussion symptoms, Crosby is third in a close race at the top of the All-Star Game fan balloting for forwards. Crosby (404,429 votes) is second, behind Toronto's Phil Kessel (464,714) and ahead of Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson (384,050).

Also among forwards for the Penguins, Malkin is 10th, Neal 13th and Staal 18th.

Fleury is third in a tight race among goaltenders. He is third with 290,840 votes, behind Toronto's James Reimer (308,025) and Boston's Tim Thomas (295,815).

Letang is third at his position with 335,142 votes.

The game is Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.


For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com , 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published December 14, 2011 5:00 AM


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