Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bennett Expected to Return to Right Wing

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bennett Expected to Return to Right Wing

Article excerpt

For weeks, Beau Bennett was asked ad nauseam about switching from his natural position, right wing, to the left side, where he was expected to play for the Penguins alongside Evgeni Malkin or Brandon Sutter.

He insisted it doesn't really matter.

Now it really, really doesn't matter.

With James Neal out of the lineup for potentially an extended amount of time because of an unspecified upper-body injury, Bennett, 21, is expected to be one player, if not the main player, to fill in on Malkin's right wing. Jussi Jokinen on the left side, Malkin and Bennett was the combination primarily used on that second line Saturday night against Buffalo at Consol Energy Center.

"I've been playing left for a while now, so it's just kind of getting back in the swing of things on the right side," Bennett, a right-handed shot, said. "There's really not that much difference, especially with a smart guy like Jussi.

"When we come back in the zone, if he's on my side, I'll stay on his and whatnot. We're kind of all over the place, reading off of each other. For the most part, it's pretty much the same."

Playing with an elite, creative player such as Malkin has its challenges, regardless of which side a winger is stationed. Malkin and Neal have developed a strong rapport.

"When you see [Neal] playing on that side, they're always supporting each other no matter where it is on the ice," Bennett said. "You want to develop that chemistry, that trust, and it will only get better with time."

Bennett and Jokinen have often played on the second power-play unit and already know each others' tendencies.

"We talk quite a bit," Bennett said. "He's a smart guy. You just have to read and react to what he's doing."

There was no update on Neal, who is out on a week-to-week basis.

Letang skating again

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang skated on his own briefly before the team's game-day skate, his first time on the ice since he got what is believed to be a knee injury Sept. 27 in practice. …

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