Former SJ and Phila. forward Niko Dimitrakos signs PTO with Wilkes-Barre (AHL).Dimitrakos hasn't played in North America since the 07-08 season while a member of the Binghamton Senators, posting impressive offensive numbers in the DEL last season (20 games, 15 points). He was a 20G-20A guy in the AHL and is a proven scorer at this level.
As a center, he could push somebody out of the top six forwards slot in Wilkes-Barre. At 32 years old, he would add to the veteran rule (Guys like Ryan Craig, Joey Mormina, Jason Williams, Alexandre Picard) so it would be interesting if all were healthy, because one - maybe two when Boris Valabik returns - will have to sit.
More familar faces and unfortunate news on a certain WBS forward after the jump.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. About midway through the practice session at Coal Street today, Keven Veilleux walked - or should I say hobbled - around to the other side of the rink and watched the last hour of practice with trainers and equipment managers. He was supposed to be evaluated yesterday and from the looks of it, it would be safe to say he doesn't start his 2011-12 season on Saturday.
As for the guys assigned to Wilkes-Barre, both defensemen Brian Strait and Alexandre Picard practiced today.
I didn't see Jason Williams on the ice. Also missing was Brian Day, who I thought had an equipment problem when he left practice early. I guess there's something more to it than that, maybe a minor issue.
I also saw a familiar face from last year's team in the hallway, stick handling a tennis ball. Robert Bortuzzo was designated on IR in Pittsburgh and will officially be assigned to Wilkes-Barre when he can resume skating, etc.
All in all, another John Hynes up-tempo practice. Some extra time spent on playing well against the boards and being active and aggressive.
The team will be at the Coal Street Rink again tomorrow and naturally I will be there with any info on the team, players, etc. on the blog's Twitter feed. If you don't follow along on Twitter we have added it to the website on the right side column, underneath the featured stories. Great for little snippets of info that as they stand by themselves, not enough for a full post. We are also on Facebook for those who are active on that.
I'm done marketing the blog for now, practice for two more days and then the regular season will be upon us. Stay tuned for more updates and coverage of the entire 2011-12 season.