Wellman aims for 'steady spot'

When it became public that the Wild was pursuing Merrimack star Stephane Da Costa, some teams pointed out to Da Costa, who ultimately signed with Ottawa, that Casey Wellman was promised an immediate spot in the lineup and has spent the majority of the season in AHL Houston.

That's without merit, Wellman says.

"There were never any promises that I was going to play right away or anything," Wellman said. "I feel fortunate they let me play last year. They said there'd be opportunity and I've been up and down, so obviously there has been a little opportunity.

"My goal is to keep working at it, get better and hopefully I can get a steady spot up here."

Overcoming adversity

It's extraordinary that the Pittsburgh Penguins are challenging for the Atlantic Division title after playing without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for all of the season's second half.

"It says a lot. It's amazing to see what we've gone through," said Crosby, practicing again after missing almost three months because of a concussion. "It wasn't just me and Geno. We had seven or eight regular guys out. ... This has been a pretty good reminder of the character we have in this room."

Clean up that mess?

Columbus coach Scott Arniel hit the Blue Jackets where it hurts when asked last week if it was time to recall the young guys from the minors.

"I'm kind of caught on the fence on that one," Arniel said. "[It's] a little bit of 'the guys that are here are the ones who got us into this mess and they are the ones who have to finish it off.'"