With a roughly 300 mile bus ride to Providence ahead of them today, the WBS Penguins opted for a quick half hour skate before packing up the bus and heading off to Rhode Island. The picture for the story is what I saw when I pulled into the parking lot at the rink this morning.
So unfortunately I can't say for sure which of the three injured players will crack the lineup this weekend for the Pens but after the jump a look at what is set in stone before the team left today.
- First off, Dustin Jeffrey has been reassigned to the AHL. Wheeling's leading scorer Ben Street was sent back to the ECHL, just in time for a four point night in their most recent game (2G, 2A).
That means that forward Keven Veilleux, who has missed the past four games, should play this weekend. A look at the available forwards shows: Dustin Jeffrey, Tim Wallace, Brett Sterling , Joe Vitale, Eric Tangradi, Nick Johnson, Ryan Craig, Chris Collins, Bryan Lerg, Keven Veilleux, Zach Sill and Geoff Walker.
Including Veilleux gives the Pens the necessary 12 forwards to put in the lineup.
- The defense is a little more involved. They currently have eight guys on the roster : Corey Potter, Steve Wagner, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Andrew Hutchinson, Carl Sneep, Joey Mormina and Jason DeSantis.
DeSantis was called up when Strait got hurt in Charlotte. Hutchinson hasn't played since mid December and has been practicing all week. Since DeSantis hasn't been demoted yet, it looks like the Pens will not play Hutchinson. Maybe Brian Strait is ready to return but with three games in three days, the Pens might rotate the third pairing throughout the weekend. I would expect to see something like this:
D1 - Potter D2 - Wagner D3 - Bortuzzo
D4, D5 & D6 = Strait, DeSantis, Sneep, Mormina (3 of 4)
- In goal, Brad Thiessen has been the man three of the last four games. There's no doubt why he was named the East's starting goalie for the AHL Star Game in Hershey. Thiessen is 8-1 in his last nine games of record with a .923 SV% and roughly a 1.78 GAA according to my quick math. He beat the Providence Bruins last week so I think you will see Thiessen on Friday and Sunday with John Curry taking Saturday's game in Adirondack.