Beau Bennett’s plan for the rest of the season is simple: stay healthy.
After being sidelined for the last four months with a wrist injury — which he suffered shortly after returning to Pittsburgh’s lineup after being out with a lower body injury — the second-year pro is thankful for his time on the ice as he wraps up a conditioning stint with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tonight.
Bennett also missed time last season due to injury and had his final year of college hockey cut short due to wrist surgery.
“Hopefully all the injuries are done for a while now,” Bennett said after Tuesday’s practice at the Mohegan Sun Arena. “Being off the ice really bothers me.”
Bennett rejoined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over the weekend and had an assist in two games. His timing is coming back, he said, and the wrist feels good. Now, it’s just a matter of staying on the ice and with his teammates.
“A lot of people don’t see the behind the scenes stuff when it comes to an injury,” Bennett said. “You rarely see your teammates. You’re in there before the guys are and you’re off the ice before they get on. You don’t get to go on the road with them, either. It’s frustrating.”
Head coach John Hynes said Bennett has played well during his conditioning stint and he will use him as he normally would in tonight’s game, which could be his last with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a while.
“We want to give him a regular shift and time on the power play,” Hynes said. “Just playing in the situations he would play when he gets back to Pittsburgh.”
That’s fine with Bennett, who said playing a regular shift helps to get his mind off the injuries and focus on his game.
“I can’t get too far ahead of myself out there. The big thing for me (tonight) is more net attack and be comfortable that my wrist is going to hold up under pressure. Not worry about it and just drive the net and create opportunities.”
• With Jayson Megna being recalled to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, newly-signed Josh Archibald took his place between Nick Drazenovic and Tom Kostopoulos during Tuesday’s practice.
Hynes said Archibald, who signed an ATO on Saturday after completing his junior season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, will play tonight. Archibald scored 29 goals in 37 games with Nebraska-Omaha this season and is Pittsburgh’s 2011 sixth-round pick.
“He’s a real quick player with good hockey instincts,” Hynes said. “He’s shown this past year in college he has the ability to make plays.”
• The recall of G Eric Hartzell once again gives the Penguins three goaltenders, but Hynes said the move was made so the trio could spend the week working with goaltender coach Mike Buckley. The situation will be re-evaluated before the team leaves for Norfolk at the end of the week, Hynes said.
• Harry Zolnierczyk and Spencer Machacek, both of whom are day-to-day, practiced Tuesday.