Penguins notebook: Maatta takes ice week after surgery |

Penguins notebook: Maatta takes ice week after surgery

USA Today Sports
Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) controls the puck against the Penguins during the second period Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in New York.

NEW YORK — Just seven days removed from having a potentially cancerous mass removed from his thyroid, Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta skated Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

Maatta took the ice while a few of his teammates were finishing their gameday skate, but he worked mostly by himself. Trainer Chris Stewart, strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and team physician Dharmesh Vyas observed the session.

Johnston said Maatta wanted to ride a bike three days after surgery, though they only relented Monday.

“It really is amazing how he handles things,” Johnston said.

Penguin captain Sidney Crosby said this is what the Penguins have come to expect from Maatta, 20, who had nine goals and 29 points as a rookie before producing six points in 10 games this season as arguably the Penguins’ best defenseman.

“With Olli, you always feel like it’s going to be earlier,” Crosby said. “That’s what we’ve gotten used to.”

The given four-week timetable for Maatta would mean a return around Dec. 2.

Bennett returns

Forward Beau Bennett made his season debut and started the game on a line with Marcel Goc and Craig Adams.

Bennett had been rehabbing a knee injury he suffered Sept. 27 and played in a pair of games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over the weekend, finishing with five assists.

About 90 minutes after the conclusion of the gameday skate, the Penguins recalled Bennett from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he completed part of a practice earlier in the day.

Easy transition for Glass

Tanner Glass played against his former team for his former — and current — coach, Alain Vigneault, on Tuesday.

Glass, who’s on his fifth NHL team, played for Vigneault with Vancouver from 2009-11.

“It’s been easy,” Glass said of transitioning from the Penguins, for whom he had five goals and 152 penalty minutes in 115 games, to the Rangers. “I’m familiar with the coaching staff from my time in Vancouver. That was really easy.”

The Rangers signed Glass to a three-year, $4.35 million contract July 1.

Though his linemates have changed, the Dartmouth graduate was at one point playing with Lee Stempniak (Dartmouth) and Dominic Moore (Harvard).

All three former Ivy Leaguers also are former Penguins.

Comeau’s cookie duster

Nobody is celebrating “Movember” better than Blake Comeau and his mustache.

“Beginning phases,” Comeau said. “But in a couple weeks she’ll be full-blown.”

Comeau said that, as opposed to last year, he didn’t start formal growth until Nov. 1.

“I had a pretty good one last year,” Comeau said. “I cheated and started growing one a couple weeks before. This year, I went right for Nov. 1.”

Moore back from suspension

The Rangers welcomed back defenseman John Moore, who had missed the previous five games because he was suspended following a hit to the head on Minnesota’s Erik Haula on Oct. 27.

The Penguins’ lineup remained the same as it has since defenseman Robert Bortuzzo replaced Maatta after his surgery.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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