WBS TRAINING CAMP NOTEBOOK: SEPTEMBER 24, 2017


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hit the Toyota Sportsplex ice for the start of training camp on Sunday morning, and stayed until the afternoon.

Coach Clark Donatelli and his staff ran the 28 players on the team’s initial roster through a more than two hour practice, that finally came to a conclusion just after 12:30pm.

For Donatelli, it was a chance to get an extended look at several fresh faces.

“A lot of the guys are new.  The guys are coming out here, trying to make an impression,” he said.  “Every practice we rank all of the players and then we go over it as a staff…I thought some guys here made some good first impressions.”

About half of the players in camp are free agents or inked to ECHL contracts.  And, with a considerable number of players still in camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins, these early practices, as well as this week’s exhibition games, present opportunities for unknown youngsters to leave their marks.

“We’ve got two games here (Wednesday versus Hershey; Friday versus Binghamton) that we’re going to play, and we’re going to a lot of looks at some of the guys we don’t know,” Donatelli said.  “Then we’re going to settle in and see what happens with Pitt with guys coming down for games three and four (Saturday at Hershey; Sunday at Binghamton).”

While it’s likely many of the players currently in Wilkes-Barre won’t be here to start the season, performances in these preseason contests could help in decision on call ups later in the year.

“If some of the guys have to go down to Wheeling, obviously then we’re going to have a good read on what they are,” Donatelli stated.

SHORT SUMMER

While Sunday morning saw hockey return to NEPA for the first time since late April, Donatelli hasn’t been away from the sport very much over the past few months.

After Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s season came to an unexpected early end, Donatelli and assistants J.D. Forrest and Chris Taylor (now with the Rochester Americans), worked with Pittsburgh’s practice squad as they advanced to their second straight Stanley Cup championship through late June.

Donatelli and Forrest then stepped behind the bench to lead the American entry at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in early August; traveled to Buffalo for the 2017 Prospects Challenge a month later; and spent a week with the NHL club as the Pens opened training camp.

“We had a short break, but it was great,” he said.  “Anytime you’re winning Stanley Cups, you’re playing a long time.  So that experience was great and our guys loved it.

“Short summer, but I’m excited to be back.”

SCHEDULE

The Pens will practice at the Toyota Sportsplex again on Monday and Tuesday mornings at 10:30am, before the action moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena for Wednesday’s opening exhibition contest.  All practices at the Toyota Sportsplex are free and open to the public.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

FINALLY HEALTHY, DI PAULI READY TO SHOW WHAT HE CAN DO

Based on the way Thomas Di Pauli’s first season as a pro went last year, it’d be easy to think he spent most of his days spilling salt over broken mirrors underneath a ladder with a black cat. It was a rather unfortunate year to say the least, one riddled with injuries.

First it was a knee ailment suffered during training camp. Then once he got healthy, a nagging issue in his back required surgery to fix. That ultimately sidelined him for three whole months. Finally, a slash cut him right back down with a broken finger that ended his season for good. After all of that, the promising two-way forward was limited to just 21 games.

Bad luck like that would give anyone a good reason to mope around and curse the heavens, but at the recent Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York, not even the Karate Kid could wax the smile off of Di Pauli’s face.

Grinning ear-to-ear after every game, the Italian-born 23-year-old couldn’t contain his excitement when talking about his healthy status. By the time the tournament was over, Di Pauli had one word to describe how he felt.

“Fantastic.”

“I feel strong, I feel fast, and I feel confidence,” Di Pauli said following the Penguins prospects’ title-clinching game against the Buffalo Sabres. “I guess I’m going to keep having fun, because right now the hockey is flowing and it’s been so fun to play.”

Di Pauli spent most of his summer altering his training regimen and his diet. Di Pauli cited the time he spent observing Penguins veterans like Tom Kostopoulos as a huge inspiration for him when he was sidelined, and for good reason. Not only does Kostopoulos still produce offense in his late 30’s, but he’s only missed one game due to injury over the past two seasons.

Di Pauli hasn’t altered his eating habits to completely mirror the gluten-free lifestyle of his captain, but he is now a pescetarian. In the gym, he’s placed an added emphasis on flexibility and mobility over strength, attempting to ensure that his body can better handle the rigors of pro hockey.

Everything the oft-injured rookie changed from last year to now is a direct result of his misfortune.

“I learned from it,” he said. “I had the whole summer to regroup and focus on this year. I’m a firm believer that when things like that happen, it can make you stronger. I’m trying to look at it as a positive.”

The changes he’s made off the ice appear to be already translating to his on-ice performance, as well.

“Now [Di Pauli]’s healthy, and you can see the difference,” said Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli. “You can see he’s got more jump. He’s a little bit quicker, and he’s a quick player to begin with.”

With his health in check, Di Pauli has his sights set on making a big impact with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Technically, because he was robbed of so many games last year due to all of his miscellaneous setbacks, he still qualifies as a rookie by American Hockey League standards. That puts him right in the mix with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s expected and anticipated rookie class, including Zach Aston-Reese, Daniel Sprong and Adam Johnson.

Despite being existing in a crowded field not only of rookies, but the Penguins organization’s overall depth chart at forward, a healthy Thomas Di Pauli has his sights set on reaching the NHL. Soon.

“I know the player I am and I’ve always known the player I can be,” Di Pauli said. “I won’t be surprised if I’m playing [in Pittsburgh] sooner rather than later. I know I can make that jump. So I’m going to keep hammering away, paying my dues and having fun, because I’m confident that I can play there.”

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

DANIEL SPRONG FOCUSED ON IMPROVING HIS DEFENSIVE SKILLS

Everywhere Daniel Sprong has gone, he’s been really, really good at one thing: scoring goals. Ever since he was one of few young lads tearing up the rink in Amsterdam, he was scoring goals. Once he crossed the pond and was terrorizing the bantam and minor midget ranks up and down the eastern seaboard, it was because he was scoring goals.

Sprong has continued to generate offense in bunches since the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted him in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.  But now they’re looking for him to find a new trick: they want him to learn how to play defense.

The oft-cited but always elusive “200-foot game” is what Sprong is focused on achieving these days. Last year, after shoulder surgery denied him the first few months of the season, Sprong used his time back with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Québec Major Junior Hockey League to not only score many more goals, but to work on rounding out the defensive aspects of his skillset.

“I had good teammates and good coaches that helped me out with my 200-foot game in the Q last year, and I think my plus/minus showed it,” Sprong said. “And these games at [the 2017 Prospect Challenge], each game got better and better. It’s never going to be perfect at this time of year, but I’m making progress and getting closer to where I need to be.”

It’s hasn’t been an overnight adjustment for Sprong, largely because his game has been predicated on generating offense his entire life. And when he looks at the roster of the NHL team that drafted him, there’s plenty of existing offensive firepower with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel to name a few. So Sprong feels the pressure to demonstrate his worth amongst a crowded field of competition.

“Pittsburgh has a lot of scoring depth and me being an offensive guy, of course I have to worry about creating chances every time I’m on the ice to prove myself,” Sprong said.

That creates quite a mental paradox for a young player. On one hand, you want to do the one thing you’ve done your whole life, while the people in charge of you want you to do the opposite. Instead of being overwhelmed by it all, Sprong has welcomed this challenge with open arms.

Furthermore, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton assistant coach Tim Army says that Sprong is far from the first player to go through that conundrum.

“That’s the pressure of this immense offensive potential and ability,” Army said. “But then it’s about the process of players learning how to best take advantage of that ability. The only way you can take advantage of it, is being diligent without the puck in all three zones. Pro hockey’s too difficult, it’s too humbling. If you’re not diligent off the puck, you’ll quickly find you’ll dry up offensively, too.”

A young offensive stud isn’t exactly accustomed to playing off the puck all that often, though. Sprong has been the go-to guy for his teams to drive the play shift after shift. Now that he’s starting from scratch and isn’t going to always be in those same situations, well, that’s the current learning curve he’s on right now.

“That’s just all part of being a pro,” coach Clark Donatelli said. “Those offensive players, especially coming out of juniors, their defense IS having the puck. Now when you try moving up, you might have the puck less, so you have to adapt your game. He’s such a high talent that he’ll figure it out.”

Sprong is also far from the first player to go through these growing pains. Donatelli and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton GM Bill Guerin both used the phrase “superstars” when talking about the game’s history of offensive players thriving once they learned how to effectively play defense. Army, on the other hand, had more specific examples.

“I think back to all those years ago when I was in Anaheim, and we drafted Paul Kariya,” he said. “And then when we traded for Teemu (Selänne). They were really young guys at that time. They obviously had brilliant offensive ability, but to learn the game from an away from the puck vantage point, it took some time.Eventually, by them playing, and you being patient with them and instructing them, they begin to figure it out.”

Now, both Kariya and Selänne are Hall of Fame bound.

That’s not to say Sprong is destined for Younge Street, but those two names provide a perfect example of what his career could be if he harnesses the power of the mythical 200-foot game. Only then can he truly reach the skyscraper high ceiling of his offensive talents. More goals for Daniel Sprong. Though he’s probably used to hearing that at this point.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PROSPECT CHALLENGE TITLE A TESTAMENT TO PENGUINS ORGANIZATION STRENGTH

At the 2017 Prospect Challenge, there was only one team without a single player selected in the first round on it’s roster. It was the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team with the most undrafted players on its roster was the Pittsburgh Penguins. Which team had the most points at the end of the tournament? The Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite their opponents boasting arguably more attractive depth charts, the Penguins organization proved its dominance once again with its tremendous showing at the Prospects Challenge. The efforts of the scouts, coaches, and most importantly the players culminated in a 5-3 victory in the final game against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

“This group was pretty special because we didn’t have too many practices,” said coach Clark Donatelli. “We showed them some video, we told them what to do, and they responded. They played really well. I think it gets contagious once they know they have success doing it, they want to do it more.”

Donatelli went on and spoke at length about the organizations philosophy when it comes to not just drafting and signing good players, but “good humans”, as he put it. There is an added emphasis on work ethic, too, and when those personalites all combine in one space, unique things can happen.

“When people come to us, they want to get better,” Donatelli said. “Every single person works so hard on the ice and off the ice. When you’re working in that kind of environment and you have people around you that are willing to pay the price to win and pay attention to details and practice habits, it’s contagious. Fortunately for us right now, that’s our culture. It’s a tribute to the organization and how they draft players.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first round or a second rounder or undrafted. Once you’re a Penguin, you’re a Penguin. Once you’re part of the family, you’re part of the family.”

New assistant coach Tim Army has only been part of the family for a hot second, being hired by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton one month ago. However, he now has first-hand experience with what the Penguins organization is capable of, even when they have limited resources at the draft.

“I think the evaluation of players and brining in the right group is a credit to all of the scouting staff,” Army said. “You know, they get out there and they watch a lot of games. They’re all over North America and they’re all over Europe. We have some draft picks here, but there are also some unsigned players that are really battling. They bring in the right pieces.”

Those scouts found Teddy Blueger, who wore the “C” as a young leader on this team and was a beacon of light on defense.

Those scouts found Daniel Sprong, whose constant threat of offense kept opposing teams on their heels.

Those scouts found Jordy Bellerive, and undrafted, unsigned 18-year-old who ended up topping the tournament with seven total points (4G-3A) in three games.

Those scouts scoured the globe and found Slovenian Jan Drozg, who unloaded a wicked wrist shot on the rush for what became the game-winning and tournament-winning goal.

And on and on and on.

The Sabres opened the scoring with a first period power play goal by Brendan Guhle. The rowdy crowd at HARBORCenter thought that the hometown Buffalo squad would carry that 1-0 lead into the first intermission until Thomas Di Pauli slammed home a rebound in the waning seconds of the frame.

The second period was a back and forth affair, with the two teams trading goals in quick succession. Zach Aston-Reese made it 2-1 for the Penguins prospects with a goal on a five-on-three man advantage, but Buffalo’s Justin Bailey answered back with another power play marker. Antti Palojärvi, who checked in to the Penguins’ line-up for the first time on Monday, got the black and gold back on top, 3-2, before Buffalo’s third power play goal of the night (this time from C.J. Smith) evened things up again.

Drozg found his game-winner midway through the third, and then Zach Aston-Reese sealed it off with an empty netter.

They didn’t walk away with a trophy or gold medals or anything like that, but with the work put in by everyone with the Penguins this weekend, the organization showed its counterparts why its considered the best there is.

“There’s an expectation of winning here,” Army said. “And we told that to the guys before we bused out. We’re about winning here, so let’s go win a tournament. Well, we won the tournament.”

PENGUINS PROSPECTS HIT THE ICE IN BUFFALO THIS WEEKEND

Jeff Taylor will be among the players who suited up for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins participating in the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo

Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese headline the 24-man roster (full roster and player bios) that the Pittsburgh Penguins will send to participate in the 2017 Prospects Challenge held at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York from September 8-11.

This year, the Penguins will compete against rookies from the host Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins. This is Pittsburgh’s first year competing in Buffalo after several years participating in a rookie tournament in London, Ontario.

Pittsburgh will play in the opening game of the Prospects Challenge on Friday, September 8 at 3:30 PM. The Penguins will also play on Saturday, September 9 at 3:30 PM against New Jersey, before concluding with a night contest against the Sabres on Monday, September 11 at 7:00 PM.

All three games will be broadcast live on penguins.nhl.com with Josh Getzoff handling play-by-play duties. Michelle Crechiolo and the Pens’ social media team will be on hand to provide coverage all weekend.

Prior to departing for Buffalo, the Penguins prospects will practice on Thursday, September 7 at 10:30 AM at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa. Players, coaches and members of the development staff will be available to the media immediately following practice.

During the Prospects Challenge, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli will be behind the bench for the Penguins, alongside his assistants, J.D. Forrest and Tim Army.

Sprong, 20, who skated in 18 NHL regular-season games for the Penguins as an 18 year old in 2015-16, has been a member of Pittsburgh’s ‘Black Aces’ taxi squad during the back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. Back in 2015, Sprong used a strong rookie tournament in London, Ontario to eventually make the NHL roster out of training camp, before returning to his junior club in Charlottetown of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Last year, Sprong’s season was delayed by offseason shoulder surgery, but when he returned to the ice, he was one of the most dominant skaters in the QMJHL. In just 31 games with Charlottetown, he produced 32 goals and 59 points, including four hat tricks and a four-goal game.

Aston-Reese, 23, joined the Pittsburgh organization as an undrafted free agent from Northeastern after leading the NCAA in goals (31) and points (63) in 2016-17. In a brief late-season cameo with WBS, Aston-Reese scored three goals and eight points in 10 games.

Here are some tidbits on the remainder of Pittsburgh’s Prospects Challenge roster:

*Five more players in addition to Sprong and Aston-Reese – defensemen Lukas Bengtsson, Ethan Prow and Jeff Taylor; and forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli – are prospects signed to NHL contracts that have also logged action with WBS.

*Rookie free agent forward Adam Johnson, who inked an entry-level deal with Pittsburgh following a strong showing at the team’s annual prospect development camp in July, will compete in his first game action in a Penguins jersey. Johnson was second on Minnesota-Duluth in goals (18) and points (37) as a sophomore last year.

*Three members of the Penguins’ 2017 draft class will suit up, including top pick Zachary Lauzon. The 18-year-old defenseman was chosen by the Penguins in the second round (51st overall). He will be joined by forward Jan Drozg, a fifth-round (152nd overall) pick, and fellow blueliner Antti Palojarvi, who was selected in the sixth round (186th overall).

*Freddie Tiffels, a 22-year-old 2015 sixth-round (167thoverall) draft pick, will be joining Johnson in seeing his first game action with Pittsburgh following a three-year collegiate career at Western Michigan.

*Of the 24 players attending the Prospects Challenge, 17 attended Pittsburgh’s prospect development camp in July.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2017 Prospects Challenge Schedule

Thursday, September 7

10:30 AM – Practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

Friday, September 8

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (KeyBank Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. Boston (Kaybank Rink)

Saturday, September 9

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. New Jersey (KeyBank Rink)

Monday, September 11

11:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

7:00 PM – Game vs. Buffalo (KeyBank Rink)

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

ARMY, DONATELLI COME FULL CIRCLE


Clark Donatelli got his first taste of coaching hockey at a high level back in 2010, when he was a volunteer assistant for the Providence Friars in the NCAA.

The head coach that took a chance on Donatelli was none other than Tim Army.

Now, seven years later, the roles are reversed.

Army was named an assistant coach on Donatelli’s staff with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last week, and is looking forward to working alongside the coach he formerly mentored.

“We have a great relationship,” said Army, 54, who actually grew up playing against Donatelli as a youngster in Rhode Island.  “He came in and helped me that year at Providence in 2010-11.  The thing that impressed me the most about Clarkie was how instinctive he is, how intuitive he is as a coach.  He has a great sense for the game, for his players.

“He also has a great personality, he’s very engaging.  He has a great relationship with his players, his ability to communicate is outstanding.”

Army is no stranger to coaching in the pros.  After five seasons as an assistant for the Friars (1988-93) he moved to the NHL, serving on Ron Wilson’s staffs with the Anaheim Ducks (1993-97) and the Washington Capitals (1997-2002).

He received his first head coaching job with the Capitals AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates, in 2002, and stayed in Maine for three years. He returned to Providence as the Friars’ head coach in 2005, and spent the past six seasons as a member of the Colorado Avalanche’s coaching staff.

And although Army has spent the past half decade on the other side of the Rockies, he’s kept a close eye on Donatelli’s progress, thanks largely to a family connection.  Army’s son, Derek, spent two seasons playing under Donatelli with the Wheeling Nailers, as well as a short stint with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2015-16.

“I’ve also seen him grow as a coach when Derek was playing for him, both in Wheeling and Wilkes-Barre.  And his game management, his sense for his players, his ability to make adjustments, his read for the game, is tremendous,” said Army.  “To work for someone who has those instincts, it’s very exciting.”

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

GUERIN JOINS LIST FOR GOAL IN ONE GOLF CLASSIC


United States Hockey Hall of Fame member, Stanley Cup champion and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins general manager Bill Guerin has joined the roster for the team’s GOAL IN ONE Golf Tournament, presented by GWC Warranty.

Guerin joins an impressive lineup of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton alumni, including the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two-time Stanley Cup winning coach Mike Sullivan; current New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes; Devils assistant Alain Nasreddine; and Glenn Patrick, who guided the Penguins during the team’s first four seasons in the American Hockey League.  Former Penguins players Dennis Bonvie and Chris Kelleher will be on hand, as will current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches Clark Donatelli, Chris Taylor and J.D. Forrest.

The two-day event will feature a VIP reception at the Westmoreland Club on Sunday, July 16, followed by the 18-hole, captain and crew format tournament at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club on Monday, July 17.  Golfers will be treated to continental breakfast, lunch on the course, hors d’oeuvres and a pig roast dinner, as well as an open bar during the meal, and a special gift for each participant.

More names will be added to the lineup in the near future.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Penguins GOALS Foundation, which provides young people and families with the opportunity to experience the game of hockey firsthand, as well as the Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge in Dallas, PA.

Registration for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins GOAL IN ONE Golf Tournament, presented by GWC Warranty, is $1000.00 per foursome.  Spots are extremely limited.  To reserve your team’s spot in the tournament, contact the Penguins at 570-208-5425, or email Shari Zbegner at szbegner@wbspenguins.com for more information.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

MIKE SULLIVAN TOPS GUEST LIST AT GOAL IN ONE GOLF TOURNAMENT


Stanley Cup winning head coach Mike Sullivan will headline a stellar group of guests at the 2017 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins GOAL IN ONE Golf Tournament, presented by GWC Warranty.

The two-day event will feature a VIP reception at the Westmoreland Club on Sunday, July 16, followed by the 18-hole, captain and crew format tournament at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club on Monday, July 17. Golfers will be treated to continental breakfast, lunch on the course, hors d’oeuvres and a pig roast dinner, as well as an open bar during the meal, and a special gift for each participant.



In addition to Sullivan, who spent part of the 2015-16 season behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench and has guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season, the tournament will feature several other current and former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches.

Current New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, as well as Devils assistant Alain Nasreddine, will be on hand, as will Glenn Patrick, who guided the team during its first four seasons. Current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches Clark Donatelli, Chris Taylor and J.D. Forrest, will participate as well.

More names will be added to the lineup in the near future.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Penguins GOALS Foundation, which provides young people and families with the opportunity to experience the game of hockey firsthand, as well as the Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge in Dallas, PA.

Registration for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins GOAL IN ONE Golf Tournament, presented by GWC Warranty, is $1000.00 per foursome, and is open now. To reserve your team’s spot in the tournament, contact the Penguins at 570-208-5425, or email Shari Zbegner at szbegner@wbspenguins.com for more information.

PENGUINS PLAYOFF NOTEBOOK – April 28, 2017


100/200

Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Providence Bruins was the 100th all-time Calder Cup Playoff game played in Wilkes-Barre.  The Penguins have a record of 60-40 on home ice in the postseason, and have outscored the opposition 295-241.

Thursday’s game was also the 200th playoff game in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton history.  The Pens are 104-96 in those games, and have outscored the opposition 562-551.


CLOSE IT OUT

The Penguins can advance to the Atlantic Division Final with a win in Game Four on Friday night (tickets available here).  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 22-13 all-time with a chance to clinch a series, and 15-3 with a chance to clinch on home ice.


BEST OF FIVE

This is the eighth best-of-five series the Penguins have participated in, and the team is 6-1 in the first seven of those rounds.  The only loss came in the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-1.


Individual tickets for Friday night’s Game Four are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 570-208-7367.

Penguins postseason ticket packages, which include tickets to every home contest during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, are on sale now.  With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every home game in the playoffs, as well as their same seat guaranteed throughout the team’s playoff run. Fans can secure their seats for every home game by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

To have a Penguins representative contact you with more information, please fill in the form below.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PENGUINS NOTEBOOK – COMINGS AND GOINGS


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins locker room at the Toyota Sportsplex should have a revolving door installed with all of the player movement that has been going on lately.  From March 2-29, no fewer than 35 transactions involving the AHL Penguins were made.

That number grew by four on Thursday, March 30.

With the improved health of several NHL regulars finally going their way, the Pittsburgh Penguins reassigned defenseman David Warsofsky, as well as forwards Oskar Sundqvist and Josh Archibald to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The trio returns to NEPA just as the Pens are beginning an extremely busy final three weeks of the regular season, with back-to-back three-in-three weekends on the schedule.

With Warsofsky returning to the fold, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton reassigned defenseman Ryan Segalla to the Wheeling Nailers.

A NEW FACE

Earlier in the week, the Pittsburgh Penguins inked 2014 draft pick Jeff Taylor to a two-year contract which starts next season.  A product of Union College, Taylor then signed a PTO (professional tryout) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and hit the practice ice with the club for the first time on Wednesday.

A skilled blueliner, Taylor led all Union defensemen and was fifth overall on the team with 33 points (9+24) during his senior season.  It was somewhat of a bounce back season for the native of Clifton Park, NY, who posted just 12 points (2+10) in 36 games last year.

“My junior season I struggled a little bit, I was trying to work on a few different things,” he said.  “It was just a growing year, a building year.  I’m glad I had it and I’m glad I got better from it.”

Head coach Clark Donatelli liked what he saw from the new signee following his first practice session with the Pens.

“He looked good out there,” Donatelli stated.  “He’s  a puck moving defenseman.  I know him a little bit from development camp over the last few years.”

Donatelli said Taylor would likely feature in one of the Penguins three games over the weekend, but wasn’t looking to put too much pressure on the newcomer.

“We’re not going to expect too much from him.  We just want him to go out there, get his feet wet, get a couple of games under his belt first,” he said.

BACK IN ACTION

While Taylor will see his first action ever, Garrett Wilson will likely see his first action in a month and a half, after being cleared to return to the lineup.

Wilson suffered a shoulder injury against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on February 14, and has been sidelined ever since.  He skated in warmups for the Penguins last weekend, but figures to get his first taste of game action since the injury on Friday night.

“I think I definitely could have played last weekend,” Wilson said.  “I knew I didn’t want to rush it.  We still had a bit of time before playoffs.  The severity of the separation, they wanted to give it a little extra time to make sure it really healed.”

Wilson used the past week of practice to see how his body would react to being banged about a bit, and from all reports he’s come out in good shape.

“I knew once I started hitting, using a lot of contact with it, it was going to make it pretty sore,” he said.  “I got the contact in practice now, so I tried it against the boys a couple times.  It feels pretty good. Hopefully it won’t change my game too much.”

The news wasn’t so good for defenseman Stuart Percy, who underwent surgery earlier this week and will miss the remainder of the season and playoffs according to Donatelli.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins return home for a pair of games this weekend against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Saturday at 7:05pm) and Utica Comets (Sunday at 3:05pm). Sunday’s game is a KIDS FREE contest, with fans ages 14 and younger able to attend the game for FREE with a paid adult ticket.

Tickets for both games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com or by calling 570-208-7267.