Much as the Penguins love Craig Adams, they aren't shy about messing with him.

A few minutes before faceoff Friday at MTS Centre, some teammates began a bit of poking in the visitors' room.

Not the obvious material, either. You know, those zero goals lingering on his ledger.

“We were talking about how he never makes the highlight reels,” winger James Neal recalled. “Just about how none of his goals are pretty.”


Alas, that would hold true through the Penguins' 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets that followed, for all that Adams managed to contribute was two goals — a multi-attempt tap-in and an empty-netter — as well as a fight to defend a teammate, a voracious forecheck that drew a late Winnipeg penalty and … well, pretty much all the rest of his nightly repertoire.

That was plenty enough, as it turned out, to sway the judges.

“Yeah, he really stuck it to us,” Neal said with a playful sigh. “And that's just great, really. I look up to Craig, what he does, everything he brings. He brings it every night. It's good to see him rewarded.”

Fact is, there isn't much that's pretty to Adams, from his style to the black rings often circling his eyes. Except if you ask those who watch and work with him on a daily basis.

During the lockout, even as he was flying about the continent to represent his teammates in the players' union, he also was invariably last off the ice at Southpointe, often performing relentless wind sprints to nary a witness.