Penguins forward Max Talbot will be sidelined for the first few months of the regular season after having offseason shoulder surgery. Talbot's absence created a vacany along the Penguins' second line, which features NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko.
The opening and who would fill it is one of the few questions for the team heading into its 2009 training camp. And the early indication is that player may be scrappy forward Tyler Kennedy
As the Penguins took the ice for the first time for training camp, Kennedy worked with Malkin and Fedotenko.
"I'm just taking it day by day," Kennedy said. "I'm not asking questions. I'm just going out there and playing the game. When I'm on their line then I'm on their line. When I'm not, I'm not."
Kennedy and Talbot are similar players in many ways. They are both energy players that will cycle the puck and go to the net to make plays.
"I think tenacity is the first thing," head coach Dan Bylsma said of Talbot and Kennedy's similarities. "Tyler Kennedy
probably skates a little bit better. I'd say he has a little more finish. From the onset, if you can add some tenaciousness, add some grit on the puck, a forechecking and puck-pursuit presence to that line. That's what Max was doing for Fedotenko and Geno on that line. Kennedy is getting older, has more experience and should feel more comfortable playing with those guys. He's going to have some time in training camp, practices and exhibition games to see if that can blend into something that will work on the ice."
"(Kennedy) is a hard working guy that drives to the net hard," Fedotenko said. "He brings intensity. It's up to the coaches but I'm sure he will have his shot on the line. It's up to the coaches but I feel like Kennedy is a great player. We're excited."
Kennedy played most of last season on a line with Matt Cooke
and Jordan Staal
. Pascal Dupuis
took Kennedy's former position with Cooke and Staal.
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