Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Injured Winger Bennett Feels 'Much Better'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Injured Winger Bennett Feels 'Much Better'

Article excerpt

Winger Beau Bennett, who has missed the past 10 games with an unspecified injury, rejoined his teammates for practice Monday at Southpointe.

And when that session was over, he sounded as if he expects to be with them in a game before long.

"I feel much better, strength-wise, than where I was at when I started to take time off," he said. "I feel pretty close [to being in game shape]."

However, coach Dan Bylsma all but ruled out Bennett for the game Wednesday night in New York -- "He's got to work his way back with more practice time than just [today]," he said -- and said there is no timetable for him to rejoin the lineup.

Assuming he sits out the Rangers game, Bennett's next opportunity to play would come Saturday when the Penguins visit St. Louis.

Bennett made it through some contact drills with no apparent problem Monday.

"It feels good to get out there and battle with someone," he said, adding that getting acclimated to the speed of the game figures to be his biggest challenge.

"You think you're going fast when you're out there by yourself, just skating around with [conditioning coach Mike] Kadar, but there's definitely a different level in-game," he said.

"It takes time, but I felt good out there."

Bylsma said right winger James Neal, who has not played since the season opener Oct. 3, skated on his own before practice "for an extended period of time." No timetable for Neal to participate in practice, let alone games, has been announced.

Weekly honor for Fleury

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was honored as the NHL's No. 2 star of the week that ended Sunday.

He went 3-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .940 percentage in starts against Carolina, Boston and Columbus.

"I'm happy," Fleury said. "As long as we keep winning and I can keep the team in games, keep the games close, it's good. …

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