Guentzel Handles Hits with Grace; Jake Guentzel Remained on His Skates Saturday after He Took a Post-Whistle Punch to the Face from St. Louis' Joel Edmundson, an Impressive Accomplishment Considering the Penguins Forward Stood Five Inches Shorter and Weighed 40 Pounds Less Than the 6-Foot-4, 220-Pound Blues Defenseman. [Derived Headline]

By West, Bill | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Guentzel Handles Hits with Grace; Jake Guentzel Remained on His Skates Saturday after He Took a Post-Whistle Punch to the Face from St. Louis' Joel Edmundson, an Impressive Accomplishment Considering the Penguins Forward Stood Five Inches Shorter and Weighed 40 Pounds Less Than the 6-Foot-4, 220-Pound Blues Defenseman. [Derived Headline]


West, Bill, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Jake Guentzel remained on his skates Saturday after he took a post-whistle punch to the face from St. Louis' Joel Edmundson, an impressive accomplishment considering the Penguins forward stood five inches shorter and weighed 40 pounds less than the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Blues defenseman.

"That kind of caught me off guard," Guentzel said. "But it's all good."

Guentzel's babyface and stature give Penguins fans a reason to fret about the 22-year-old rookie's well-being, particularly as he receives more minutes and becomes known as a scoring threat. But Guentzel welcomes the brutish behavior from opponents. He places considerable faith in his ability to turn those acts of hostility into drawn penalties.

"You just try to play your game with a competitive edge," said Guentzel, who has five goals and four assists through 15 games. "If (a cheap shot) happens, you've just got to take it and obviously try to draw (a penalty from) him, make it hurt a little bit."

Calgary defenseman T. J. Brodie went to the penalty box late in the first period Tuesday for a late and blatant cross-check on Guentzel. But the Penguins rookie brought trouble upon himself, as he, too, went to the box for holding Brodie's stick.

"There's a fine line between standing up for yourself and drawing a penalty by skating away," Guentzel said. "You've got to be smart about it."

Nick Bonino, who served as Guentzel's center in recent games, considers the left winger sufficiently confident and composed to deal with any trouble that might come his way.

"He's a tough kid," Bonino said. "He doesn't need our help. If he needs us, he'll ask us. But we look out for him. A young guy coming up, usually those guys aren't given too much of a problem unless they're loud, and that's not him. He's a quiet, nice kid."

Ache updates

Evgeni Malkin (lower-body injury) again wore a gray, no-contact jersey to distinguish himself from the other players at practice Wednesday, but coach Mike Sullivan said the center engaged in "limited contact," a progression from recent practices.

"We're trying to slowly introduce him into the battles to make sure that we give him the best chance to recover the right way," Sullivan said.

Malkin will travel with the Penguins to Colorado and Arizona this weekend, Sullivan said. Carl Hagelin did not join the team on Wednesday's flight, but he might connect with the Penguins during the road trip. …

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Guentzel Handles Hits with Grace; Jake Guentzel Remained on His Skates Saturday after He Took a Post-Whistle Punch to the Face from St. Louis' Joel Edmundson, an Impressive Accomplishment Considering the Penguins Forward Stood Five Inches Shorter and Weighed 40 Pounds Less Than the 6-Foot-4, 220-Pound Blues Defenseman. [Derived Headline]
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