I was able to attend the WBS Penguins practice today at the new Coal Street Rink and learned a few things about the team. I'm still working on getting a press pass for some of the home games while I'm on winter break and got to talk with various members of the organization. A look at new line combinations for the Pens with Dustin Jeffrey in the NHL and an update on Tim Wallace, who has been out of the lineup since last Friday's game in Norfolk.
More after the jump.
First off, the new rink the WBS Penguins use for some practices (those open to the public) is really nice. I didn't have much time to take pictures but I will put them up as soon as I do.
A source close to the team told me that Tim Wallace will be out another week or two. While I don't know what the extent of the injury is, Wallace did come out to watch his team practice for a little bit, in street clothes, and didn't seem to be favoring anything. Hopefully Wallace will be back to 100% soon as the Pens can't afford to have another scoring forward out of the lineup.
Geoff Walker, the moustache boy for December, was the first on the ice this morning. He practiced mostly on a line with Joe Vitale and Eric Tangradi this morning. Walker has a goal and seven assists through 25 games this season, this being his second season of hockey at the pro level. Walker registered five goals and nine assists in 37 games last season with the AHL's Manchester Monarchs.
Despite losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, everyone was still all smiles and having fun at the rink. While there's no reason to hit the panic button after a 21-6 start, the Pens need to find ways to score goals without their top two scorers in the lineup.
That being said, practice today was no joke. Head Coach John Hynes and Assistant Coach Alain Nasreddine really kept an up-tempo work ethic for the roughly 90-minute practice.
The Pens will host the Abbotsford Heat for the first time on both Wednesday and Friday night. Former Penguins forward Ryan Stone, who spent his first four seasons with the Pens, has recently been sent down to the AHL and should be in the lineup for the two games.
Lines I saw in practice today:
Brett Sterling - Bryan Lerg - Nick Johnson
Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Geoff Walker
Chris Collins - Ryan Craig - Keven Veilleux
Joey Haddad - Zach Sill - Jesse Boulerice