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Countdown to Opening Night
Penguins vs. CheckersOctober 7th, 2017
18 days to go.
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
I wasn’t expecting to have a blog entry today, but the events of the day almost require it.
The organization is finally getting healthy.
Starting up top, the Pittsburgh Penguins reassigned forward Conor Sheary to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins today. This after word from the morning that basically everyone practiced today including injured players like
Broke Beau Bennett, Eric Fehr and even Ben Lovejoy. It was a full compliment of players. 15 forwards, 8 defensemen and 3 goaltenders. Almost like the week before the regular season when the final cuts need to be made.
Then news today out of Coal Street that Oskar Sundqvist practiced in full and should be good to go for Saturday against Bridgeport. That is good news for the Penguins because getting the firepower of Sheary injected back into the lineup with Sundqvist balancing out your third or even fourth line is certainly welcome.
Defenseman Niclas Andersen is recovered from his illness and is looking like he is ready to go again for this weekends games.
Goaltender Tristan Jarry did not practice. Donatelli indicated today that he is, “getting better.”
I would guess that the braintrust feels he will be good to go as they sent Brian Foster along with forwards Derek Army and Anton Zlobin back to Wheeling today. Franky Palazzese remains up and is projected to back up Jarry in both games this weekend with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The thought here with many is that Foster was a mess last night and Palazzese won the game for the Penguins without giving up a goal in his AHL debut. I don’t agree with that at all. The Penguins are most successful when they play in front of goaltenders not named Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry when they are successful at shot suppression. They limited Hershey to five shots in the third period Sunday in a 5-4 game in the third game in three nights for both teams. They limited Lehigh Valley to three shots in the third period yesterday playing in front of Palazzese and one shot in overtime. They need to insulate whoever the backup is to Jarry as best they can in order to have a chance at winning. It is that simple.
The Pens reassigned three to Wheeling today in what I am guessing is a sign of things to come from Pittsburgh. I would assume that you will see one more transaction at least from Pittsburgh before Saturday nights game against Bridgeport. You may even see a second. But who?
I think the Pittsburgh Penguins are at an interesting crossroads when it comes to Derrick Pouliot. Pouliot has been scratched the last two games in the NHL while the Penguins worked Justin Schultz into the rotation. Ben Lovejoy is getting healthy enough to play. In practice today Pouliot was on the fourth defensive pairing. Pittsburgh is in a fight for its playoff life amidst a battle with its Metropolitan Division brethren. Every point is crucial for them going forward so Head Coach Mike Sullivan needs to dress the best players available now that everyone is seemingly healthy again. Does the organization want to stunt the continued progress of Pouliot by burying him in the press box night after night or do they want him to play top defensive minutes?
Maybe I am grasping at air falling backwards, but don’t be surprised if you see Derrick Pouliot back in Wilkes-Barre sooner rather than later.
Who knows. Certainly I don’t or else they would be paying me to write these things. Time will tell.
Let’s Go Pens!
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