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Pens put Neal on IR, recall Zolnierczyk

Oct 15, 2013, 10:37 AM EST

HarryZol Getty Images

Pittsburgh added some grit to its lineup on Tuesday by recalling forward Harry Zolnierczyk from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Pens are hurting up front with wingers Beau Bennett and James Neal out with unspecified injuries. Bennett, 20, was skating in place of Neal, who has been out since hurting himself in the first game of the season and is now on injured reserve.

Zolnierczyk, 26, has shown a surprising offensive flair for WBS thus far, scoring three goals in three games. He split last season between the Ducks and Flyers, appearing in seven games with Philly and none with Anaheim — he was shipped immediately to the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in Norfolk, and played out the season there.

The former Brown University standout make his mark on the league last year with some reckless hits. He was tossed from a game against Washington for kneeing Caps forward Mathieu Perreault, then suspended four games for charging Ottawa’s Mike Lundin.

  1. hockey412 - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Hopefully he can control himself. The lack of depth at wing does start to hurt (of course they’re missing 3 of them, not too many teams wouldn’t be hurting in that situation).

    • curioustraveler13 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      He has 3 goals in 3 games for Wilkes barre , and he is a really fast skater so I don’t see any problems with him fitting in. He looked in the preseason too.

      • curioustraveler13 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        Supposed to be “good” before preseason there.

      • hockey412 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        I thought he fit in beautifully in preseason as well – and his speed and grit were great. That’s never been his problem. It’s just that in that split second where he has to make the choice in his head “do I absolutely level this guy, hurt my team and get suspended, or do I play the body just enough to separate the puck from the player” where he’s crossed the line. Once upon a time, so did Cooke. There’s a spot for him on the roster if he can control himself, I’m sure.

      • curioustraveler13 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        Yep I agree. Has he ever been suspended before?

      • hockey412 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        Earlier this year (last season), yeah – hit on Lundin. He looked like a human missle.

      • curioustraveler13 - Oct 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        Thanks! I blame the flyer mentality rubbing off on him for that haha. He was just copying what Rinaldo did to stay in the lineup.

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    The frustrating part is how the Pens don’t really say much on injuries these days. It would be nice to know what Neal did in the whiffle ball game that got himself hurt…but ever since the playoffs the pens are now shady on injuries.

    • curioustraveler13 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Well they already stated the injury didn’t happen in the wiffle ball game. That was a rumor that ended up being false. Also how does you knowing his injury help him recover faster? How does it affect you at all to know what part of him hurts? He’ll play when he’s healthy.

    • c9castine - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      i agree with curious traveler. itd be kinda nice to know but it really doesnt matter….not gonna change anything. its quite clear they are not pushing anybody to get back right now. what with it being an 82 game season and us up against the cap with plenty of depth players to choose from, there is no need to rush right now. we are 4-1 and have no reason to think we wont have a chance to win with just about any lineup.

  3. 7mantel - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Just what the league needs another loose cannon !

  4. jpelle82 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    kobasew has been a monster, should be him and jokinen playing with malkin. zolnierczyk will have to see minutes on line 3 then with sutter and jeffrey i guess. i dont want to see adams, glass, vitale split up right now, theyve been tearing it up.

    • hockey412 - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Looking like that is how it will be, from the Pens website.

  5. c9castine - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    haha….this is what malkin had to say about missing Neal and having other wingers…

    “I try to pass more because I know how good ‘Lazy’ is, and he shoots (best),” Malkin said of Neal. “I (will) not change my game, but I must score goals more when I know ‘Lazy’ is not (playing) with me. “I (will) try to shoot more.”

    malkin and neal are known for being good friends, but constantly bickering at each other on the ice. think its hilarious malkin is calling neal lazy for taking too long to get back.

    • bmscalise - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      Geno’s called Neal “Lazy” for years – since they first started playing together. It’s hilarious but not related to recent events.

      • c9castine - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        id say malkin speaking about his top winger being out and what he has to do with the revolving door of players around him is about as related to recent events as it gets, especially since this quote came from an article written yesterday directly about the topic.

      • bmscalise - Oct 15, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        I meant the nickname – not the quote.

  6. ruthlessburgher - Oct 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    My guess at the line combinations without Neal and Bennett:

    Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
    Kobasew-Malkin-Jokinen
    Jeffrey-Sutter-Vitale
    Zolniercyzk-Adams-Glass

    • jpelle82 - Oct 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      i’m sure there will be plenty of juggling out there, but i would bet they keep the 4th line together as much as they can with glass, adams, vitale. the 2nd and 3rd lines have been a work in progress since the season started and neal went down. nothing wrong with line 1 and 4 though…if it aint broke dont fix it.

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