Featured Stories

Penguins Remain Perfect On the Road

Sunday, October 30, 2011
Gibbons is tied for second on the team in scoring with nine points (3G-6A) in his first nine pro games.
Sorry about the lack of coverage for last night's game. Everything seemed to go wrong. Technology was part of it, AHL Live had its usual miscues. I also caught one of those 24 hour viruses and went out like a light at about 8 p.m. EST. Thankfully, the Penguins had better luck than I did last night. Here's a quick recap for those who missed last night's game:
  • Brian Gibbons got the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the first period. He finished with a goal and two assists and continues to impress in the early going.
  • Geoff Walker left the game in the first period and did not return. I'll see what I can find out at practice this week and update his status for next weekend's games.
  • The Penguins scored two quick goals in the 2nd period, courtesy of Eric Tangradi and Nick Petersen.
  • Niko Dimitrakos would make it 4-0 in the 3rd period, and Thiessen would win his fourth straight start. Unfortunately his shutout was broken by Monarchs' Brandon Kozun. 
  • Penguins win 4-1 and are now 5-0-0-0 on the road so far this season.

Penguins Look For 5-0 Road Start

Saturday, October 29, 2011
Coming off a whacky 5-3 win up in Syracuse last night, the WBS Penguins look to remain perfect on the road when they take on the Manchester Monarchs at the Verizon Wireless Arena tonight at 7 p.m. EST.

Look for a similar lineup from the Penguins tonight, with a possible change between the pipes since Brad Thiessen got the start last night. Otherwise, the lineup should look like this:
  • Tangradi (#25) - Gibbons (#9) - Williams (#18)
    Walker (#17) - Lerg (#19) - McDonald (#13)
    Thompson (#37) -Street (#12) - Dimitrakos (#52)
    Petersen (#8) - Sill (#11) - DeFazio (#24)

    Picard (#45) - Bortuzzo (#15)
    Despres (#47) - Sneep (#4)
    Samuelsson (#5) - Mormina (#3)

Live in-game updates on the blog's Twitter feed as usual. Hopefully the technical difficulties from the AHL Live won't be a problem again tonight.

Penguins Lights Out Against Syracuse

Friday, October 28, 2011
Bortuzzo made his season debut tonight in Syracuse.
This game was a tale of two stories.
In the first period, Jason Williams got his first of the season - a power play tally from the point - to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. Colin McDonald made it 2-0 late in the period on a nice feed from Geoff Walker.

The middle frame was not as kind to the Penguins. Robert Bortuzzo, playing in his first game of the season, took two minor penalties. The Crunch were able to capitalize on one and added another goal before the period ended to make it a tie game heading into the third.

The Penguins took over in the third period scoring two goals in the first 1:51 and held on after giving up a shorthanded goal early in the third.

Eric Tangradi added an empty net goal after a lengthy stoppage due to lighting issues in the arena. The Penguins win 5-3 and are still perfect on the road this season. They travel to Manchester overnight and will play the Monarchs tomorrow night.

Penguins On the Road Again

Alexandre Picard needs to continue to be a leader on defense.
The Penguins are perfect on the road this season and will look to continue that success at 7:30 p.m. EST when they take on the Syracuse Crunch.

A few notes of happenings this week at practice:
  • Devin DiDiomete was released from his PTO. He didn't really show much with the few shifts he saw in both the preseason and regular season. Good news for Ryan Schnell as both are known for their ability to mix things up and drop the gloves. Looks like Schnell will be the WBS Penguins enforcer exclusively for now.
  • Robert Bortuzzo will return to the lineup and make his season debut tonight. He will be paired with Alexandre Picard on the blue line.
  • The lineup for tonight is basically the same, except for Bortuzzo instead of Brian Strait:
    • Tangradi (#25) - Gibbons (#9) - Williams (#18)
      Walker (#17) - Lerg (#19) - McDonald (#13)
      Thompson (#37) -Street (#12) - Dimitrakos (#52)
      Petersen (#8) - Sill (#11) - DeFazio (#24)


      Picard (#45) - Bortuzzo (#15)
      Despres (#47) - Sneep (#4)
      Samuelsson (#5) - Mormina (#3)

      Thiessen (#39) - Munroe (#43)
 Be sure to follow live in-game updates over on the Twitter feed. A recap will be up on the blog shortly after the game.

Go Penguins!

Penguins Perfect Away From Home

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An interesting stat about where the WBS Penguins have played and how they have fared:
At home: 0-2-1-1 with 10 goals for and 15 against.
On the road: 3-0-0-0 with 11 goals for and 2 against
Why such a big difference? The Penguins have played the Hershey Bears and Springfield Falcons both home and away, so the different team theory is out. But to be honest, I can't quite out a finger on why two different teams show up depending on whether the Penguins play at home or on the road.

Tonight, the WBS Penguins came into the Giant Center coming off a 3-0 win in Springfield the night before. But they wasted no time, coming ready to play.

Brian Gibbons continues to impress this season. He scored a power play goal on the Penguins first of nine power plays they were given and really set the tone just 3:36 into the contest.

Simon Despres got his first career professional goal midway through the 2nd period on a bigtime slap shot. Good to see Despres get that first one. Hopefully there are plenty more to come.

Bryan Lerg continued his offensive streak with another goal, the Pens third goal. He now has ten points (6G-4A) in his last five games.

Brad Thiessen was nearly perfect on the weekend. After a 26 save shutout last night, he follows up with 27 saves on 28 shots tonight. It was only a matter of time before last year's AHL Goalie of the Year showed why he was so deserving of the award.

10/22 Penguins @ Bears Game Thread

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Penguins and Bears meet up for the 2nd of 12 scheduled meetings tonight at the Giant Center in Hershey. The Bears spoiled the Penguins' opening night opener 3-2, so now the Pens are hoping to return the favor.

Follow in-game updates on the blog's Twitter feed.

WBS Penguins Look To Tame Bears

What You Need To Know

When: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 at 7:05 p.m EST
Where: Giant Center, Hershey, PA
Coverage: On the radio - 102.3 The Mountain
                  On AHL Live - Buy an Online Feed
                  On Twitter - @H_P_Hockey]

Last Meeting
The Bears and Penguins met at the Pens' season opener at the Mohegan Sun Arena back on October 8th. The Bears came away with a 3-2 victory. The Penguins scored a shorthanded goal (Brian Gibbons) and a power play goal (Niko Dimitrakos) in the loss.
 
Standings
Hershey: 4-0-1-0, 9 points - 1st place East Division
WBS Penguins: 2-2-1-1, 6 points - 4th place East Division


Even though Brad Thiessen recorded a shutout last night, expect to see Scott Munroe in net tonight in Hershey.  The lineup should be similar with Alex Grant possibly playing as the 6th defenseman instead of Cody Wild or Philip Samuelsson.

Go Penguins!

Lerg & The Penguins Blank Falcons 3-0

Friday, October 21, 2011
Brad Thiessen really stood on his head at times tonight.
The WBS Penguins got their second win of the season, both of which have come on the road, after a 3-0 win tonight in Springfield.

After the team two teams combined for 11 goals last Friday, the teams played a scoreless first period before Geoff Walker got the Penguins on the board with a power play goal late in the second period.

Bryan Lerg has been far and away the best player on the ice for the WBS Penguins so far this season. He won a foot race in the third period that led to a chance, and did a spin-o-rama pass to Eric Tangradi who slammed home a puck past Manny Legace to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

Lerg added a shorthanded empty net goal with 1:09 left to seal the deal. Lerg now has eight points (5G-3A) in his last four games

Brad Thiessen got his first shutout of the season, stopping all 26 shots he faced. Now both he and Scott Munroe have a shutout, which I'm sure no other team has done yet this early in the season.

It's back on the bus tonight and straight to Hershey. The Pens will play the 4-0-1 Bears tomorrow night at the Giant Center at 7:05 p.m. EST.

10/21 Penguins @ Falcons Game Thread

Matt Rust, along with Robert Bortuzzo, didn't make the trip to Springfield tonight.
Jason Williams will be making his WBS Penguins debut tonight. Robert Bortuzzo will not play tonight. Expect Brad Thiessen to get the start in net tonight.

Anticipated lineup:

Eric Tangradi (#25) - Brian Gibbons (#9)- Jason Williams (#18)
Niko Dimitrakos (#52) - Ben Street (#10) - Paul Thompson (#37)
Geoff Walker (#17) - Bryan Lerg (#19) - Colin McDonald (#13)
Brandon DeFazio (#24) - Zach Sill (#11) - Nick Petersen (#8)

Carl Sneep (#4) - Simon Despres (#47)
Philip Samuelsson (#5) -Joey Mormina (#3)
Alexandre Picard (#45) - Cody Wild (#6) OR Alex Grant (#20)


Brad Thiessen (#39)

WBS Penguins @ Springfield Falcons: Battle of the Birds Part 2


What You Need To Know

When: Friday, October 21st, 2011 T at 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA
Coverage: On the radio - 102.3 The Mountain
                  On AHL Live - Buy an Online Feed
                  On Twitter - @H_P_Hockey

Last meeting
The Falcons took care of the Penguins 7-4. The Pens allowed three power play goals and a shorthanded goal. Overall a sloppy performance by the Pens, and they will look to bounce back tonight.

Standings
Springfield: 3-2-0-0, 6 points - 2nd place Northeast Division 
WBS Penguins: 1-2-1-1 - 5th place East Division

The WBS Penguins are 1-0 in their only road game of the early season. Let's hope it's 2-0 on the road after tonight.

Go Penguins!

Penguins Prepare For Weekend Road Trip

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The bus was getting loaded up this morning as I walked into the Coal Street Rink to watch WBS Penguins practice. Here's what I was able to gather today:
  • All eight defensemen practiced today. Brooks Orpik is set to play his first game of the season in Pittsburgh, which is why no call up was necessary for Brian Strait's elbow injury. Initial reports have Strait out for a few weeks with a hyper-extended elbow. 
  • Robert Bortuzzo practiced today but will not make the trip to Springfield along with forward Matt Rust. Ryan Craig and Brian Day didn't skate and are out. Keven Veilleux is out long term.
  • I got a chance to talk to Jason Williams after practice and when asked if he will be in the lineup this weekend, he smiled and said yes. He also said he was going to tear it up this weekend. Let's hope he's right. Looks like he's motivated and ready to play.
  • Same forward lines as yesterday:
    • Eric Tangradi (#25) - Brian Gibbons (#9)- Jason Williams (#18)
      Niko Dimitrakos (#52) - Ben Street (#10) - Paul Thompson (#37)
      Geoff Walker (#17) - Bryan Lerg (#19) - Colin McDonald (#13)
      Brandon DeFazio (#24) - Zach Sill (#11) - Nick Petersen (#8)
      Ryan Schnell (#38) - Cody Chupp (#16) - Devin DiDiomete (#14)
  • With seven healthy defenseman, either Alex Grant or Cody Wild will get the nod as the 6th defenseman. 
  • In net I expect both goalies to play this weekend, with Brad Thiessen getting the start tomorrow night in Springfield and Scott Munroe tending to the pipes Saturday night in Hershey.
  • Highland Park Hockey will have live, in-game updates for both road games this weekend, keeping you covered on all WBS Penguins games, news and information all season long!

Wednesday's WBS Penguins UPDATE: Knocking Off the Rust

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
There are plenty of injuries so far, just five games into the AHL Penguins 13th season.

Wednesday's Quick Hits:
  • For those who missed it yesterday, Brian Strait was recalled to Pittsburgh to replace a suspended Kris Letang. In last night's game against the Minnesota Wild, Strait logged only about six and a half minutes of ice time and left the game with an upper body injury. Rumors point to an elbow injury. His status for Pittsburgh's game tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens is up in the air.
  • At the Coal Street Rink today, the WBS Penguins held a two hour practice from 10 a.m. to noon. Missing from the session were forwards Ryan Craig, Keven Veilleux, Brian Day and Matt Rust. 
  • Rust actually came out for practice towards the end of practice and skated after with Robert Bortuzzo and assistant coach Alain Nasreddine. It was apparent that both are not 100% ready for game action, but Bortuzzo skated the whole practice in a regular contact jersey. Hopefully he will be ready to play this weekend.
  • Rust was wearing the red no-contact jersey. Bortuzzo was in a regular jersey along with Ben Street, Jason Williams and Nick Petersen. Petersen was still sporting a swollen right eye and using a face shield.
  • It appears no call-ups are coming from Wilkes-Barre to Pittsburgh as everyone was in attendance and nobody left early. Coach Hynes didn't mention anything about call-ups after practice while talking off-ice to fans and media. If a call up is to be made, expect it to be Alexandre Picard. Either way, Letang can play in Pittsburgh's next game so the call up would be able to meet the WBS Penguins in Springfield on Friday. 
Here are the lines I took down during a 5 on 5 drill:

Eric Tangradi (#25) - Brian Gibbons (#9)- Jason Williams (#18)
Niko Dimitrakos (#52) - Ben Street (#10) - Paul Thompson (#37)
Geoff Walker (#17) - Bryan Lerg (#19) - Colin McDonald (#13)
Brandon DeFazio (#24) - Zach Sill (#11) - Nick Petersen (#8)
Ryan Schnell (#38) - Cody Chupp (#16) - Devin DiDiomete (#14)

Alexandre Picard (#45) - Robert Bortuzzo (#15)
Carl Sneep (#4) - Simon Despres (#47)
Philip Samuelsson (#5) -Joey Mormina (#3)
Cody Wild (#6) - Alex Grant (#20)

Brad Thiessen (#39) - Scott Munroe (#43)

The Penguins worked on the power play and penalty kill during most of the second half of practice. Here's what the lines looked like for that.

Power Play #1
Picard-Williams, McDonald-Gibbons/Street-Dimitrakos

Power Play #2
Sneep-Despres, Tangradi-Lerg-Walker

Back to practice tomorrow to find out who will be on the ice in Springfield on Friday.

Stay tuned, Highland Park Hockey has you covered for the Penguins road trips this weekend to Springfield, Mass. and Hershey, Pa. Follow updates at practices as well as live in-game updates on the blog's Twitter feed: @H_P_Hockey.

Go Penguins!

Home Woes Continue, Pens Fall 5-4 in OT

Saturday, October 15, 2011
Zach Sill and the third line played well tonight.
After five games, a 1-2-1-1 start was anything but expected for the talent on this roster. But not holding onto leads of 2-0 and 3-1 (in the 3rd period) will kill you every time. The Penguins still haven't won a home game (0-2-1-1) with their only win of the season coming this past Thursday night in Rochester.

The Penguins started the game great, leading 2-0 after the first period on goals by Brandon DeFazio and Eric Tangradi. They were completely dominant in all facets of the game. They out shot the Binghamton Senators 7-1 in the first frame. The second and third periods seemed a completely different story.

10/15 Senators @ WBS Penguins Thread

Got called into work on my day off and didn't get a preview up. Here is tonight's game thread, picking it up after a first period which saw the WBS Penguins take a 2-0 lead and outshoot the Binghamton Senators 7-1.

Go Penguins! Follow in game updates on the blog's Twitter feed (@H_P_Hockey).

Penguins Lose Battle of the Birds, Fall 7-4

Friday, October 14, 2011
The Penguins were not very impressive tonight.
I think the best way to describe tonight's WBS Penguins game in one word is this - sloppy.

Brandon DeFazio get called for hooking in the opening minute and Springfield capitalizes. Niko Dimitrakos turns the puck over behind his own net on a power play chance and it's in the back of the net and its a 2-0 deficit less than five minutes into the game.

10/13 Falcons @ Penguins Game Thread

Munroe should get the start in net tonight.
The Penguins take on the Falcons at 7:05 p.m. EST.

Follow all of the action here and with live in-game updates on Twitter. Go Penguins!

Penguins Return Home For Two Games


The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins are looking for their first win at home and they will have another crack at it tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST when they face the Springfield Falcons. Hopefully the third time is a charm.

The Pens were very impressive last night in Rochester, leaving western New York with a 5-1 victory. They look to build off of that with back to back home games tonight and tomorrow.

For the Falcons, they lost a big name player when former Hershey and Edmonton forward Alexandre Giroux was recalled to the NHL. Good timing for the Pens as Giroux seemed to find the scoresheet more times than not against the Pens.

For the Penguins, expect much of the same in terms of the lineup with Scott Munroe the likely starter in net. You might recall Munroe getting a shutout in his first start - a 1-0 shootout loss to the Connecticut Whale.

I'll be at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for tonight's action and will be live tweeting the game over on the blog's Twitter feed.

The game thread will be up a half hour prior to the drop of the puck as usual. Predict the final score and first star of the game and leave it in the comments section. If someone guesses both right, they will win a WBS Penguins related prize.

Penguins Rout Amerks, 1st Win of Season

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Dimitrakos, Tangradi and Gibbons were spectacular tonight!
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins won their first game of the season tonight and in impressive fashion, knocking off the Rochester Americans 5-1 tonight in western New York. But the game's most exciting moment occurred late in the second period, after the Penguins were already well on their way with a 3-0 lead.

Brian Gibbons took a slashing minor and five seconds later Zach Sill cleared a puck into the stands. What happened on the next flurry, I will never forget.


Joey Mormina's stick broke, the Amerks kept throwing shots at Thiessen. Thiessen lost his goalie stick and the Penguins were really scrambling down two men and two sticks. Bryan Lerg somehow stole a puck and shot down the ice on a breakaway. His stick was lifted and it appeared like a blown opportunity. But Lerg's second effort with his stick lifted was able to get a piece of the puck and put it over the leg pad of MacIntyre, giving the Pens a 4-0 lead and really deflating Rochester with 1:12 left in the second period.

All in all, a great performance by the Penguins tonight. First win of the season and first road game of the season. Hopefully the Penguins can keep it going tomorrow night when they host the Springfield Falcons.

10/13 Penguins @ Amerks Game Thread

It's the first road game of the season, but we are still giving the Penguins full coverage on the Twitter side tonight with live in-game updates. If anyone wants to follow along here I can post updates and talk hockey throughout the game.

Looks like Brad Thiessen and Drew MacIntyre between the pipes. Full lineup for the Penguins coming shortly.

Go Penguins!

Penguins On the Road Tonight

Gibbons really flew under the radar and nabbed a spot as a top six forward.
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins will look for their first win of the season tonight when they battle the Rochester Americans in western New York. This is the first road trip of the season for the WBS Penguins, and they are hoping it will jump start their stats in the W column.

As reported earlier, it looks like Brad Thiessen will get the start in net for the Penguins. The Amerks will most likely counter with Drew MacIntyre. This is the only game scheduled in the AHL for tonight so all eyes will be on these two teams at 7:05 p.m. EST.

A familiar face will be in the Amerks lineup tonight. Former Norfolk Admirals forward Paul Szczechura signed with the Buffalo Sabres in the off season and is ready to lace them up against the Pens tonight. He was always a Penguins killer - let's hope the change of scenery is enough to change that.

As for familiar faces for the Penguins, both Nick Petersen and Jason Williams practiced with the team this week. Both started the week wearing the red no-contact jerseys but Petersen practiced yesterday with the regular jersey - a sign he might be close to making a return to the lineup. I don't expect either to play tonight.

The line combos at practice this week were continuously changing but here's what I was able to gather:

Tangradi-Gibbons-Dimitrakos
Walker-Lerg-McDonald
Thompson-Sill-Craig
DeFazio-Chupp-Schnell
Petersen-Williams-DiDiomete

The Pens will likely rotate multiple line combinations to find a way to create more offense. After scoring two goals in the opening night loss to the Hershey Bears, they were unable to find the net against the Connecticut Whale in their 1-0 shoot out loss this past Sunday.

Three games this weekend for the Penguins and I expect them to get it in gear and get that goose egg out of the wins column.

Go Penguins!

Game thread at 6:30. Live in-game updates on the blog's Twitter feed. Stay tuned.

10/11 WBS Penguins Practice UPDATE

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
 Some quick hits from practice today:
  • The biggest news was seeing Nick Petersen and Jason Williams skating on the ice at the Coal Street Rink this morning. Sure both were wearing red no-contact jerseys, but its a sign that they are one step closer to returning to game action.
  •  The Penguins signed forward Matt Rust to a PTO today and he was on the ice as well wearing #23. I don't know too much about him but he's another small, quick forward that is good on his skates. Not sure how he fits into the Penguins puzzle right now.
  • Ben Street didn't practice today. You might recall him leaving Sunday's game against the Connecticut Whale. I was told from a source close to the team that Street will be out for a little bit. Not really a concrete timetable but at least it sounds (initially) that the injury isn't serious.
  • I also Robert Bortuzzo today, talking with Keven Veilleux while watching practice. Looked like Bortuzzo was sweating which means he's probably doing off-ice workouts. Hopefully he can return to the lineup sometime soon.

Penguins Fall 1-0 in Shootout

Monday, October 10, 2011
Scott Munroe played a near perfect game in his WBS Penguins debut.
Last night's Penguins game was a clear goaltenders duel between Scott Munroe and Chad Johnson.  Munroe stopped all 23 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, while Johnson stopped all 41 shots that came his way.

In the shootout, Munroe was only able to stop 1 of 4 attempts and the Penguins lost 1-0 to the Connecticut Whale.  They picked up a point and their record now stands at 0-1-0-1.

The Penguins seemed to control the play in the second period, outshooting the Whale by an 18-4 margin. Unfortunately they were unable to get one on the board. The power play was also a problem as it went 0 for 7.

The Penguins have an off day today before resuming practice tomorrow. The Penguins will then get ready for their first road trip of the season, traveling to Rochester to take on the Americans on Thursday.

10/9 CT @ WBS Penguins Game Thread

Sunday, October 9, 2011
Niko Dimitrakos was one of the goal scorers last night and looks to continue right where he left off.
The Penguins are back in action tonight after dropping the season opener last night to the Hershey Bears. The puck drops at 5:05 p.m. EST. Join in the conversation and talk WBS Penguins hockey all season long here on Highland Park Hockey.

Game 2 Preview: CT @ WBS Penguins


After surrendering two points in their season opener last night, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins get an early chance for redemption when they face off against the Connecticut Whale at 5:05 p.m. EST. Both Jason Williams and Devin DiDiomete spent time with the Whale last season.

The Whale are also coming off a loss last night, where they saw a 3-1 lead turn into a 6-3 deficit by way of the Adirondack Phantoms. Kris Newbury scored a hat trick for the Whale but it wasn't enough as they gave up five unanswered goals.

The Penguins scored both of their goals last night on special teams - one power play goal and one shorthanded goal. They will need to get better with the man advantage as they let two third period power plays go to waste while trailing by a goal. 

Look for much of the same play tonight from the Penguins. The effort and intensity was there for the most part, and a break or two the other way could have meant a 3-2 win for the Penguins against the Bears.

As for the lineup, I would expect Scott Munroe to get his first start of the season. Also, Zach Sill will be returning to the lineup from his one game suspension. That means one of the fourth line guys - Brandon DeFazio, Cody Chupp and Devin DiDiomete - will have to sit tonight. Defensively, you might see a little rotation of the bottom pairing, where maybe Cody Wild or Alex Grant step in for Joey Mormina or Philip Samuelsson.

Unfortunately I won't be attending today's game - the only game I plan on missing this season. I will still have updates periodically and a post game recap later tonight for those who missed the action.

Go Penguins!

Pens Drop Season Opener 3-2

Saturday, October 8, 2011
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins opened their 13th season tonight against the Hershey Bears, but were unable to come away with the victory, falling 3-2 to the Bears.

Brad Thiessen looked good tonight, stopping 23 of 25 shots he faced. Brian Gibbons continues to impress me. He used his blazing speed to split the defense and bury a shorthanded goal in the first period. Unfortunately, the Penguins gave up a goal on the next shift just 20 seconds later.

Colin McDonald fed a great cross-ice pass to Niko Dimitrakos early in the second period for the Penguins only other goal, a power play tally with just two ticks left on Christian Hanson's slashing penalty.

What hurt the Penguins tonight was not capitalizing on the two power plays they were given midway through the third period.  I liked how the Pens were able to move the puck around and create chances. I think the power play unit just needs some more game play to click. Don't forget that Dimitrakos was just added to the team this week.

Two things surprised me tonight. First, I was surprised with who the Penguins went with as their sixth defenseman - Philip Samuelsson. Nothing against Ulf's kid, but I thought both Cody Wild and Alex Grant looked better in the preseason. I guess the coaching staff sees something I don't. He didn't play terrible tonight, but he had his share of rookie miscues. With another game tomorrow night I think there will be a few lineup changes.

The other surprise was that there wasn't a single fight in tonight's game. These two teams don't like each other and while there were a lot of pushing and shoving matches, nothing evolved into two guys dropping the gloves.

The Penguins are back in action tomorrow night against the Connecticut Whale at 5:05 p.m. EST. The game preview of tomorrow's contest and game thread will be up tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately I cannot attend tomorrow's game, but will have updates periodically on the Twitter feed.

10/8 HER @ WBS Game Thread

Penguins open their season tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST against the Hershey Bears.
Looks like it will be Brad Thiessen in net tonight.  The Penguins begin their 13th season against their biggest rival, the Hershey Bears.  Here's what defenseman Simon Despres tweeted earlier this afternoon to add fuel to the fire:
Game time! Vs hershey bears #5milliondollarpayroll
That comment about the payroll is referring to the many guys Hershey went out and got in the offseason. Guys like Danny Richmond, Ryan Potulny and Chris Bourque are being paid top dollar to play in the AHL. The Bears might have the highest salary total in the league.

Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. EST. Live in-game updates on our Twitter feed. Go Penguins!

Opening Night: Hershey Bears Part 1

Eric Tangradi should see a lot of ice time this season on the Penguins top line.
The time for another season of Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins hockey has come. The Penguins begin a new journey in the organization's 13th year, coming off of a record setting regular season a year ago. Sure, bowing out in the second round of the playoffs didn't resonate well with those whose have close ties. But today the Penguins clean off the slate and start all over.

The Penguins begin their 13th season tonight at 7:05 p.m. when they host intrastate rival Hershey in the first of 12 scheduled meetings.

Highland Park Hockey will be covering the AHL's Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins all season long with updates at practice, previews and recap of all 76 regular season games (both home and away), with interviews with players, coaches and other media, information on injuries and call-ups and so much more. Spread the word and join in the conversation and make this blog a community of Penguins fans all interested in one thing: this AHL hockey team in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all of the up-to-the-minute updates on the hockey team from northeastern Pennsylvania that we all have come together to follow.

A look at the team after the jump.

WBS Penguins Friday Practice UPDATE

Friday, October 7, 2011
 A couple of quick hits for those who might not know some or any of the following:
  • Keven Veilleux's knee injury is serious. It requires surgery to repair and the initial timetable is six months. That would basically mean his season is over before it begins, which is very unfortunate for a guy like Veilleux. If you recall, Veilleux missed over 70 games with a shoulder injury in his rookie season.
  • Niko Dimitrakos practiced today and was wearing #52.  Jason Williams did not practice today but was at the rink watching practice with Keven Veilleux and Robert Bortuzzo.
  • Zach Sill won't be playing tomorrow night but its not injury related, although both of his eyes are black and blue. Sill received a suspension of one exhibition and one regular season game for his hit on Hershey's Zack Miskovic last Saturday.
  • Brian Day was absent from practice again today. We reported on Tuesday that he left practice early. Not sure what his status is but I don't think we will see him in the lineup Saturday night. 
  • Chris Barton was assigned to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) yesterday.
A look at line combinations and projecting the opening night lineup after the jump.

Wednesday's WBS Penguins UPDATE

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Some interesting information came out today while I was at the Coal Street Rink that could potentially be big news for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Dave Molinari, Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, had this to say on Twitter:
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.

10/4 Update: Waivers, Cuts & Depth Chart

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins were back at the Coal Street Rink again this morning for practice.  Here are some quick hits on things I noticed while at the two hour practice session. More insights after the jump:
  • Missing from practice were eight guys who have been assigned to the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers - those being forwards Denver Manderson, Zack Torquato and Martin Moucha, defensemen Andrew Hotham, Chad Langlais and Nick Plastino and goalies Patrick Killeen and Alex Kangas.
  • Also missing from practice was Keven Veilleux. Still not much of a timetable for Veilleux as he was supposed to get his knee evaluated today. I'll try to get an update from head coach John Hynes tomorrow. Hynes was one of the first off the ice today, probably to find out who cleared waivers and who the Penguins would send to Wheeling.
  • Both Jason Williams and Alexandre Picard cleared waivers today and will hopefully be at the rink tomorrow.
  • An interesting look at the jersey numbers the guys were wearing today. Had a nice chat today about jersey numbers and the stories behind how some of the players got their number.
A look at where the roster stands right now, my look at the depth chart based off what I saw today and possible roster scenarios for the guys currently with the team.

What Will AHL Penguins Roster Look Like?

Monday, October 3, 2011
With the news coming down from Pittsburgh that Brian Strait, Alexandre Picard and Jason Williams are on their way to the AHL to play for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins to start the 2011-12 season, many are wondering what the AHL Penguins roster will look like for opening night on Saturday against the Hershey Bears.

Pittsburgh Trims Active Roster to 23

Brian Strait will begin the 2011-12 season in the AHL.
Pittsburgh announced moments ago the last round of cuts before their season starts Thursday night in Vancouver. This from the team's release:
Forward Jason Williams and defensemen Alexandre Picard and Brian Strait were re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL). Defenseman Joseph Morrow was returned to his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Jason Williams and Alexandre Picard will have to clear waivers before coming to the WBS Penguins.

Penguins End Preseason With 3-1 Win

Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Penguins fired 34 shots at Jason Bacashihua tonight.
The fans at Mohegan Sun Arena got to see some of the guys who will lead the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins as they prepare for the team's 13th season this upcoming Saturday. The top line featured Eric Tangradi, Ryan Craig and Colin McDonald. Tangradi scored a power play goal and McDonald notched two assists. Good stuff from that line.

The Penguins dominated most of the play tonight. They returned the favor after dropping a 3-1 to Adirondack on Wednesday with a 3-1 win of their own tonight.

Penguins Beat Bears Again, 2-1

Saturday, October 1, 2011
The rough stuff continued tonight in Hershey.
In another fun-filled preseason game, the Penguins and Bears played against each other for the second time in as many nights.

The lineups were much different. Hershey had most of their top guns like Keith Aucoin, Graham Mink and Ryan Potulny in the lineup while WBS regulars like Bryan Lerg and Geoff Walker were scratched.

The initial news on the status of Keven Veilleux, injured last night, is not good. It was reported that his knee was too swollen to be evaluated (MRI, X-rays, etc.). I'll be at WBS practice all week and will try to find out what I can on Veilleux.

As for the game, the Bears came out ready to play. Matt Pope put the Bears on the board just 1:31 into the contest. That was the only goal scored through the first 40 minutes, but that's not to say there wasn't any excitement.

Zach Sill and Christian Hanson dropped the gloves in a spirited bout. Sill appeared to be injured and left the game with the trainer but later returned. Devin DiDiomete and Alex Grant were also involved in scrums for the Penguins.

Down 1-0 heading into the third period, Carl Sneep and Ben Street teamed up for a pretty goal just 26 seconds into the final period. With 3:21 left to play, Brian Gibbons made a nice move on Keith Aucoin and roofed a backhander past Dany Sabourin for the game winning goal. It was truly a thing of beauty.

Sure the win doesn't mean much since this is still the preseason, but you have to like the effort from a lot of these guys. Brian Gibbons and Scott Munroe in particular, were the stars of the night for the Penguins.

Gibbons has been a problem all preseason long for opposing teams. He uses his speed to create space and his vision on the ice is incredible.  Munroe stood on his head tonight, stopping 34 of 35 shots. And he stopped shots from a lot of guys that will be regulars for Hershey this season.