Originally posted on The PensNation  |  Last updated 4/1/14

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Beau Bennett, drafted 20th overall of the Pittsburgh Penguins, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
By: Casey Johnston (@PensNationCasey) Second Line Thankful for Bennett In his first 12 games of the season Beau Bennett produced one goal.  Since coming back from his wrist injury he has a goal and an assist.  He’s had Corsi ratings of +14 and +2 and has looked genuinely excited to be back on the ice.  With Bennett back the coaching staff can stop pretending that Brian Gibbons is a top-six forward.  Nobody was sure how Bennett would look after missing so much time.  Two games is way too small of a sample size to give any meaningful conclusions, but so far Bennett at least looks as promising as he did when he made his NHL debut last season.  If he can stay healthy, which is becoming a reasonable question in his career, Bennett can finally start to develop into the top line winger that he was drafted to be. Defense Almost Healthy? The Penguins got some welcome news when it was announced today that Paul Martin may return to the ice sometime in the next week.  Taken with the news that Kris Letang has been cleared to play, that means that the Penguins (knock on wood) will soon be icing a healthy defensive corps.  The absence of Martin and Letang meant that the Penguins were missing two of their top three defensemen in terms of toughest competition faced.  It almost meant that they were missing two of their top power play defensemen.  While was it nice to see Matt Niskanen step up to be a blue line leader, and it was exciting to see Olli Maatta development into a complete two-way defenseman, it’s time to get the more seasoned veterans back into the lineup. Hits Happen Brooks Orpik leads all Penguin defensemen with 208 registered hits.  He’s second on the team behind Tanner Glass.  On Sunday night we all saw the hit he leveled against Jonathan Toews.  It was hard.  It was vicious.  Above all, it was clean.  If you’re a Blackhawks fan I empathize with your position.  Nobody wants to see their captain and best player hit along the boards and injured.  There’s an apprehensive feeling that we get when Sidney Crosby goes into a corner or Evgeni Malkin cuts across the neutral zone, carrying the puck long past the point where he should have dumped it into the corner.  Hockey is a physical game.  We all know this and we all enjoy it.  It’s what makes hockey unique from all other sports.  A strong hit doesn’t stop a game; rather, it shifts momentum and rewards the team willing to “pay the price” to win.  What happened Sunday night with 6:45 left in the second period wasn’t unique, nor was it dirty.  It was a freak accident, an unfortunate end of an otherwise routine hockey play.
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