NHL

Asham's injury provides time for Kennedy to impress

FOX Sports Rob Rossi, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
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At the very least, right wing Tyler Kennedy knows what Penguins coach Dan Bylsma expects from him.

"(He) should be thinking more about playing his game than scoring goals," Bylsma said Saturday before the Penguins played the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center.

Kennedy scored the Penguins' first goal in a loss at their new arena Thursday night. Against Montreal, he again played in the third-line slot that eventually will belong to right wing Arron Asham, who is out indefinitely with an injured left shoulder.

Bylsma said Kennedy is "back to where he was speed-wise and energy-wise at the start of last season." Injuries limited him to 13 goals in 64 regular-season games last season.

A lower-body injury slowed Kennedy in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which he finished without a goal in 10 games. That performance and the offseason acquisition of Asham prompted speculation that he needed a strong camp to stick with the Penguins.

He silenced skeptics in camp but probably should keep Bylsma's blueprint for him in mind.

"(He) really needs to focus on that grit and physical aspect to his game, winning puck battles," Bylsma said. "He's a guy who maybe likes to be on the outside a little more, but he really needs to concentrate on getting to the net.

"At the end of a game, Tyler should probably be worried about whether he's annoyed somebody on the other team with how he's played. That's where he can be an effective player."

Surgery not necessary for Asham

Though Asham's injury hasn't progressed along a best-case-scenario track, Bylsma said surgery is not a consideration.

Asham's injured-reserve designation is retroactive to Oct. 1, when he was injured in an exhibition game at Chicago. He has not taken the ice since, and he has not been seen wearing any support device for the shoulder.

All-Time Team medallions

The first of 17 medallions for members of the Trib Total Media Penguins All-Time Team is available today at area Giant Eagle and Get Go locations. Mario Lemieux is represented on the first medallion. Readers must present a coupon from Trib Total Media newspapers and pay $2.99 for medallions, which will be available daily through Oct. 26.

The team was selected by readers and Penguins fans.

Around the boards

Defenseman Kris Letang said he has fully recovered from a migraine headache that nearly kept him from playing Thursday night. ... Defenseman Deryk Engelland and right wing Eric Godard were scratched for the Penguins. Montreal played without defenseman Roman Hamrlik and Mathieu Darche.

Tagged: Canadiens, Penguins, Arron Asham, Tyler Kennedy

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