Beau Bennett and The Neverending Wrist Injury by @ChicksDigHockey - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Beau Bennett and The Neverending Wrist Injury by @ChicksDigHockey

Beau Bennett was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft  and became the highest-drafted California born-and-trained player in NHL history. He is a product of the Gretzky era in California; when Yuppie parents started throwing their kids into roller hockey. When asked in an interview how he got started in hockey, Bennett offered, “My older brother started when he was 5, so I’d throw the skates on. Nothing too serious. But then after a few years, I fell in love with it. I didn’t switch over to ice until I was 15. …. my parents had a little Sport Court in the backyard, so that was kind of like my pond. I’d be out there every day before [and] after school. It’s funny — even this summer when I went home and lived with my parents, I’d be out there every day shooting around.”

Somehow, Bennett found enough coaching and motivation in the 'Sunshine State' to emerge as a highly sought after scoring forward. The fall after he was drafted by the Pens, he entered the University of Denver to hone his skill and hopefully, bulk up.

That’s when the injuries started. First, his right knee during his freshman year. Then, came the wrist injury in October of 2011.  It was his sophomore year at DU and he injured his wrist during practice. He missed four games but continued to play recording five points (2g, 3a) in a four-game scoring streak. In December he was sidelined after having successful surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his wrist. 

He recovered from that surgery and was called up to join the Penguins in February of 2013. He scored his first NHL goal on February 24th and kept rolling with the team thru the playoffs.

On November 22, 2013, the night Sidney Crosby scored his 250th goal, Bennett fractured his wrist requiring another surgery. He hasn’t played since. In fact, when it looked like he might be close to returning, the ever cryptic Penguins announced he had suffered a “setback” and would need an additional three to four weeks added to his recovery timetable. 

What does all of this mean for Bennett and the Penguins moving forward? He’s been skating on his own and with the team. In a ROOT Sport interview, Bennett said his legs have never felt stronger but what about that wrist? What’s more important to a goal scorer than his wrists? His legs may be in shape but how long will it take to shake the rust off his stick skills? I guess we will see as he’s been sent to WBS for conditioning. (Note: In two games with WBS, Bennett has recorded 3 SOG and an assist) 

He has been slotted to be a top six forward but is it too late for that this season? The Neal, Malkin, Jokinen line has chemistry which is important for Geno’s production. The Kunitz, Crosby pair, after struggling to fill the void left by Dupuis, has begun to gel with Lee Stempniak. It seems certain when he returns Bennett will add much needed depth, likely playing along-side Sutter. 

He told the Post-Gazett’s Shelly Anderson, “I’m just excited to play some games and get back into some action….. Hands are coming along. My shot is not where I want it to be, but I still feel pretty comfortable [on the ice].” 

We all know that injuries are part of the game. Is Bennett fragile or just unfortunate? Will that surgically repaired and inevitably altered wrist retain the magic potential it once held? Only time will tell but, as we move toward the playoffs, the Pens need a healthy Bennett like a cloudy day needs the sun.

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