Penguins Notebook: Wallace back in lineup
Share with others:
The Penguins are 7 for 7 again.
They recalled right winger Tim Wallace from their minor league team in Wilkes-Barre Saturday, which means all seven of the Baby Penguins' leading scorers again are on the major league roster.
Wallace will be in the Penguins' lineup when they take on Chicago today at the United Center.
He has appeared in four games with them this season, but has failed to record a point. His recall stems from winger Nick Johnson being injured in practice Friday.
Coach Dan Bylsma said the Penguins did not consider going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Blackhawks, but acknowledged that was an option that had been contemplated previously.
"We've made some call-ups in the past, the past few games, where we have considered that," he said. "But, given where we're at, [salary] cap-wise and situational-wise, we think calling up a forward is the best [course of action] for us."
Had the Penguins dressed seven defensemen against the Blackhawks, Ben Lovejoy would have been a viable candidate to take some shifts up front. He played forward until he was in eighth grade.
Beau Bennett, the Penguins' first-round draft choice in 2010 and a freshman at Denver University, has an idea of when he would like to turn pro.
It's not anytime soon, however, and it's not a target to which he is tied.
"I would like to come out in two years, but I'm in a great program, with great coaching," he said. "However long it takes me, I want to come out when I know I'm ready, compared to when I think I'm ready."
Bennett, who watched the Penguins' 3-2 victory Wednesday against Colorado at the Pepsi Center, had seven goals and 11 assists in 26 games before the Pioneers faced Michigan Tech Saturday night.
He missed five games earlier this season after sustaining a right knee injury when his skate caught a rut in the ice, but said there should be no long-term effects from that.
"It was the first time for a knee injury for me, so it was kind of unknown," he said. "You don't really know how hard to push and whatnot.
"It's still sore. They told me it would be sore until April or May. You don't want to miss any time, and they said it wouldn't get any worse as long as I take care of it and wear the brace."
Chicago, the defending Stanley Cup champion, is tied with Columbus for 11th in the Western Conference, four points out of the final playoff berth going into games Saturday.
The Blackhawks wouldn't be the first team to have a letdown after winning a championship, and playing in an ultra-competitive conference doesn't help them.
Still Bylsma believes it is far too early to write Chicago off.
"They're in a situation where that conference is that tight, that close," he said. "Where ninth, 10th is not that far away from fourth and third.
"We've been through some of the emotions and some of the thoughts and some of the difficulties of dealing with being a Stanley Cup champion. I had a chance to talk to [Chicago coach Joel Quenneville] about that early in the year and in the offseason. They're right there in the mix. And, if they go on a win streak, you're going to be talking a different story real quickly."
Despite their disappointing season to date, the Blackhawks have some gifted offensive players and are averaging 3.1 goals per game, the fifth-highest total in the league.
Injured forwards Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Kunitz and Mark Letestu skated after the formal practice ended Saturday at Southpointe. ... The Chicago game starts a stretch of five in seven days for the Penguins.
First Published February 20, 2011 12:00 am