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Penguins notebook: Fehr gets early gift — a son

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, December 22, 2016 8:33 p.m
gtrFehr121916
The Maple Leafs' Mitchell Marner hits the ice after colliding with the Penguins' Eric Fehr during the first period Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.
gtrFehr121916
The Maple Leafs' Mitchell Marner hits the ice after colliding with the Penguins' Eric Fehr during the first period Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Eric Fehr’s wife gave birth to the couple’s second child Wednesday afternoon.

The baby’s first name is a tribute to Fehr’s grandfather. The middle name, well, it’s not hard to figure out what that’s a reference to.

Benjamin Stanley Fehr is a healthy, 8-pound, 15-ounce, 21-inch boy.

“My wife was pregnant during the whole playoffs,” Fehr said. “I thought it was a cool way to tie it in.”

There’s another reason for the middle name beyond the obvious. It’s also a tribute to Fehr’s Manitoba roots.

“I grew up in the (rural municipality) of Stanley. It’s where my dad worked,” he said.

One of the more memorable photos from the Stanley Cup celebration on the ice in San Jose last June showed Fehr’s young daughter crying as she sat in the famous trophy.

Fehr said players recently received their miniature replica Stanley Cups, and he thought about recreating the scene with his newborn son. Only one problem, though.

“He’s not fitting in that thing,” Fehr said with a laugh. “He’s a big guy.”

The Penguins left for Columbus on Wednesday afternoon, but Fehr stayed home to be with his family. He joined the team in time for Thursday’s morning skate.

“You never want to say you’re looking for a girl or a boy, but I kind of wanted to balance the scales,” Fehr said. “That was exciting for me.”

Coaching clash

Mike Sullivan is a coach who preaches speed, in all its forms, as the ultimate competitive advantage. Columbus’ John Tortorella’s teams, conversely, owe a significant portion of their success to their feistiness and physicality.

Sullivan was Tortorella’s assistant with the Lightning, Rangers and Canucks for six seasons from 2007-14.

Did they constantly argue about the way the game should be played?

“I think we see the game in a very similar fashion,” Sullivan said. “For me, it’s about what type of personnel do you have and how do you play to your strengths? That’s how I look at it.

“That’s how we looked at it when we coached together. I’m sure he’s trying to maximize the group he has, and I’m trying to do the same with our group.”

Sixth man

With Kris Letang and Trevor Daley out with injuries, a rotation seems to be developing for the sixth spot on defense.

On Tuesday against the Rangers, Chad Ruhwedel got the nod. On Thursday in Columbus, it was Steve Oleksy.

“Depending on who we play and how we think matchups may come into play, we may choose to go one direction or the other,” Sullivan said.

For Oleksy, a physical defender with 65 pro fights to his credit, a rivalry game against a physical team like Columbus was a good chance to show what he can do.

“I think that suits my game a little better than maybe some of the other teams in the league,” Oleksy said.

Going streaking

For the past couple of seasons, Nick Bonino has been astreaky scorer.

After starting this season with one goal in his first 23 games, he came into Thursday with five in his last 10.

Last year, he had three goals and 11 points in his first 45 games followed by six goals and 18 points in the last 18 games of the regular season.

The year before that with Vancouver, he started with 19 points in 23 games, then recorded five points in his next 23.

Bonino said he doesn’t feel like he’s any streakier than the average player.

“Maybe point-wise, but I don’t think play-wise,” he said. “If the points aren’t coming, (it’s OK,) if I’m happy with the way the game’s going.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

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