Penguins notebook: Bennett to miss about 2 weeks
Another injury to Beau Bennett represents an opportunity for Jayson Megna.
Bennett, who has had two wrist surgeries in his career and endured a lower-body injury already this season, will miss about two weeks after another injury Monday in Boston.
Bennett’s right leg became tangled with defenseman Kevan Miller in the second period. After slamming his hand on the ice in frustration, Bennett went to the locker room before returning for the third period.
After briefly watching Bennett skate, coach Mike Johnston shut him down because Bennett didn’t look 100 percent.
“Beau’s got a lower-body injury,” Johnston said without offering specifics other than saying Bennett would miss two weeks.
Megna, who started the season at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, will see duty replacing Bennett on the third line with center Brandon Sutter and right wing Steve Downie.
Johnston said he believes Megna will fit in nicely.
“It’s great that we got him up here before Beau did get injured,” Johnston said, referencing Megna’s appearance against the Bruins. “We had a chance to get him on the fourth line and then bump him up. All the reports from (Wilkes-Barre) are that he’s had a phenomenal start to the year.”
Bennett is an offensive-minded player, and while he is bigger than Megna, their respective styles aren’t so different that Megna shouldn’t be an adequate replacement, Johnston said.
“He had a good camp with us,” Johnston said. “He was right down to the end. But starting in (Wilkes-Barre) was good for him and his confidence. He carries his speed well. He gets in on the forecheck. He can make plays off the rush and with speed. That’s something we’re looking for in our top groups.”
Megna is eager about the opportunity.
“Every day you wake up when you’re not here, you’re just hungry to get back here,” Megna said. “I put my work in down there. I was under a great coaching staff. I truly felt I got better every day down there. That’s my goal right now, to prove that I belong here.”
Pressure in Toronto
Left wing Nick Spaling grew up in the Toronto area but only can imagine what it’s like to play for the Maple Leafs.
After two losses a couple of weeks ago — a 6-2 loss against the Buffalo Sabres and a 9-2 setback at home against Nashville — the Maple Leafs became the talk of the hockey world. They recently refused to acknowledge their crowd with their customary stick salute following a victory.
“It definitely can be tough to play there,” Spaling said. “They’re under the microscope. But they do play for fans who care, and they’ve got a great support system, too. So it’s not a bad thing. I think it’s a great place. It’s hockey central.”
Because of the team’s hectic schedule, Johnston made Wednesday morning’s skate optional. Those who didn’t take part included center Evgeni Malkin, defenseman Paul Martin, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and left wing Chris Kunitz. None is dealing with an injury.
Greiss to get call
Goaltender Thomas Greiss is expected to play in one of the games against Carolina this weekend. The Penguins host the Hurricanes on Friday before playing 24 hours later in Raleigh, N.C.