Wednesday's WBS Practice UPDATE

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Penguins held a short but high-paced practice this morning after having the day off yesterday. They'll hold their last practice of the regular season tomorrow at Coal Street before finishing off the weekend with two home games.

And then it's on to the second season: the 2013 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Sure, the Pens have clinched a playoff spot and can wrap up the 5th seed with one more point gained or one point lost by 6th place Portland. Sure, the Penguins are rolling along right now after a weekend sweep up in St. John's and are 8-0-0-1 in their last nine games. Much like the last few weeks have been, every game is going to be hard-fought.

Today was the first real practice for newly acquired forward Derek Nesbitt, who the Penguins received from Peoria for future considerations at last week's AHL trading deadline.

Nesbitt skated yesterday with a few of the guys who didn't make the St. John's trip, but today he found himself on the left wing alongside Brian Gibbons and Jayson Megna. A spot head coach John Hynes says is where he will be when he plays one game this weekend.

As to not make Nesbitt enter veteran status for next season, the Penguins will allow Nesbitt to sit out one of the two remaining games so he won't count against the AHL veteran limit for another season. A nice gesture by the organization to make Nesbitt's value in the off-season a little higher than it already is.

Here's the coach's thoughts on Nesbitt:

"He's going to play one of the two. If he plays that second game, then he would become a veteran so we're going to play him in one. You can see today in practice, for a first day at practice, he was on in every drill."

I also caught up with Nesbitt, and as you can guess when a 26 goal scorer comes to the team, everyone wanted to talk to the new guy. Nesbitt noted he only played in Wilkes-Barre one time and played a few years back on a team with Dylan Reese and Chad Kolarik, so he's not completely out of touch as he enters the locker room. Here's his thoughts on coming to a new team with two games left:

"It's happened to me before [traded at deadline four years ago], but it was also with a month or so left in the season. It's good to get in and get practices this week and get back on track."

I also caught up with Dominik Uher, who scored one goal in 49 games going into last weekend. Uher netted three goals in the two games in Newfoundland.

"It was a great feeling for sure, especially to help our team to win both games," Uher said of his three goal weekend. "I'm happy to finally get some goals going on and hope to keep it going."

More Uher:

"All lines are starting to click, every guy is pretty much playing their best hockey of the season so its a good fact going into the playoffs. I'm happy that our team is doing well"

Hynes on Uher's weekend:

"He's scored all his goals within five feet of the net. He's been getting to those areas more and he just had a lot more energy and drive in his game."

Today's Lines:

Holzapfel - Smith - Kolarik
Nesbitt - Gibbons - Megna
Payerl/Collins - Peters - Thompson
Farnham - Sill - Uher/MacIntyre

Reese - Dumoulin
Mormina - Samuelsson
Wild - Grant

Zatkoff - Thiessen


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