Penguins Notebook: Engelland rewarded with three-year deal
Deryk Engelland, who has shown a willingness to drop the gloves at any time this season, received a new contract from the Penguins.
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Deryk Engelland never had a three-year contract before.
Never had a deal that paid him strictly an NHL salary, either.
Of course, he'd never established himself as a reliable member of an NHL defense before doing it with the Penguins this season, so the security Engelland received in a new contract Monday probably is a fair reward for how he has performed in 2010-11.
The agreement is worth $1.7 million and carries an annual salary-cap hit of $566,700.
"A three-year deal for anything here, to me, is great," Engelland said. "You're going to be with a great team for the next [three-plus] years. I couldn't ask for anything else."
Engelland, who is 6 feet 2, 202 pounds, has two goals, three assists and a team-high 76 penalty minutes in 32 games. He has been assessed 10 fighting majors, tying him for the fourth most in the NHL before Monday night's games.
He not only has been a willing fighter, but an effective one, with victories against respected heavyweights such as Toronto's Colton Orr and Jody Shelley of Philadelphia.
"His pugilistic achievements have been pretty big," coach Dan Bylsma said.
But while Engelland's fighting prowess has gotten him some attention, and playing time, it's his solid performance on the ice that keeps him in the lineup most nights.
"His ability to... defend and be physical against good players has really been probably the biggest thing he's shown this year," Bylsma said.
With Engelland re-signed, the Penguins have all seven defensemen currently on their major league roster under contract at least through the 2011-12 season, when Alex Goligoski's deal will expire.
Ben Lovejoy's contract runs 2012-13; Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Engelland are covered through 2013-14; and Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek are signed through 2014-15.
Center Jordan Staal made his 2010-11 debut during the Penguins' 3-1 loss to Washington Saturday night at Heinz Field after missing the first 39 games because of a foot infection and broken hand.
Not surprisingly, he felt the exertion the next day, but didn't seem bothered by it during practice Monday.
"It was obviously a little sore [Sunday]," he said. "It didn't help that my first game back [was on] ice that was that slow, so it was tough to get the legs going.
"I was a little sore, but after a day off, felt pretty good."
The United States and Canada met in the semifinals of the world under-20 championships at HSBC Arena in Buffalo Monday night.
Such a showdown, which seems to be a regular feature at the world juniors, generally inspires some nationalistic trash talk and friendly wagering in the Penguins' locker room.
There wasn't much of it after practice Monday, though. Perhaps because the matchup wasn't confirmed until Canada beat Switzerland in a quarterfinal Sunday.
"It's always a little [battle over] bragging rights," said Orpik, who represented the United States in the 2000 tournament. "I think it's the Canadians more than U.S. They take it more seriously than we do."
According to officials at NBC, which televised the game, the Winter Classic between the Penguins and Washington Saturday night attracted 4.5 million viewers, making it the NHL's most-watched regular-season game since 1975.
The viewership translated to a 2.3 national rating and was up from 3.7 million in 2010, when Philadelphia played Boston at Fenway Park.
Pittsburgh led all markets with a 32.0 rating, up from the 17.7 posted when the Penguins played Buffalo in the first Winter Classic in 2008.
Saturday night's game attracted the largest TV audience of any of the four Winter Classics, surpassing the 4.4 million who watched Chicago and Detroit in 2009.
First Published January 4, 2011 12:00 am