The Penguins are thrilled to welcome Evgeni Malkin and, eventually, a healthy Sidney Crosby back to their lineup. Having the real James Neal also should make for a nice addition. Neal, acquired from Dallas in February, scored only two goals in 27 games with the Penguins but has made a believer out of coach Dan Bylsma. "James Neal is a 20-goal scorer," Bylsma said, "and we think he can score 30." Neal's pedigree suggests such numbers are likely after scoring 24 and 27 goals, respectively, during his first two NHL seasons in Dallas. Neal was on pace for 30 goals before being traded to the Penguins, who were without Crosby and Malkin. He dealt with playing without the team's top playmaking centers, living in a hotel in a new city and attempting to adapt to a new system during a playoff push. Despite the lack of success, his confidence remains. "Last year was kind of a whirlwind," Neal said. "Everything was happening so fast." The pressure to produce remains, but any inability to adapt to the team is gone. "I feel much more comfortable this year," Neal said. "I'm adjusted to everything. I just want to focus on playing well and making Pittsburgh my home."
Neal looks to turn it up this season for Pens
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Sep 19