Penguins Future – Coming On Strong

By pbadmin

Numerous problems have plagued the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. From personal
tragedies, to injuries, to coaching changes and inconsistency on the ice,
it never seemed to stop. Fortunately, despite the chaos, the team as a whole never stopped believing in the impossible. Classed as an ordinary talent, a struggling team whose playoff chances are slipping away, the Pittsburgh Penguins are far from quitting. The truth is they will do whatever it takes to build a winner, and positively reinforce their farm system, even if it takes a year or two longer to be recognized for their efforts. At the moment a trail of disappointment ripples through the system, but there is hope on the horizon. No team is more capable of making a statement than Pittsburgh. When they decide to do something, they usually go all out.
On February 7th, the Pittsburgh Penguins named Ivan Hlinka associate head coach, with the intention of making him successor to Herb Brooks as head coach next season. Ivan, who is a world-class talent behind the bench and led the Czech National team (including Jaromir Jagr) to Olympic gold, will become the first European coach to take the helm of a NHL team. It’s fitting considering the Penguins are credited for being the first NHL team to draft heavily from Europe and build their current roster around such. It will take some getting used to, especially for those players who are not from the Czech Republic, but the common opinion is it’s a huge step in the right direction.

Besides making history, the Penguins organization continues to focus on and monitor the Penguins of tomorrow. When asked about the future, the Penguins will tell you there is a lot more to building a winner than bringing in a winning coach. Talented young prospects play a key role in maintaining the success of a franchise.
Sebastien Caron is 19 years old, and considered by many to be one of the best young goaltenders in the junior system. Drafted in the third round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, he currently leads the Quebec Major Junior League with 29 victories. Holding a record of 29-10-1with Rimouski, Sebastien is ranked seventh in save percentage (.870).

Sebastien Caron’s stats (as of 2/13/00)


GP MINS AVG W L T EN SO GA
1999-00 42 2396 3.48 29 10 1 0 1 139
998-99 30 1570 3.25 13 10 3 0 0 85

Eric Meloche, son of the Penguins goaltending coach Gilles Meloche, was drafted in the seventh round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He currently leads Ohio State University in goals (13), power-play goals (8), and short-handed goals (2). An incredible playmaker, Eric combines graceful finesse, with speed and power to make things happen. If his talent continues to blossom, he will more than likely see some ice time in Wilkes-Barre next season.

Milan Kraft’s reputation continues to grow. A 6-foot-3, 191-pound native of the Czech Republic, he is expected to do great things for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Member of the gold medal winning junior national team in Sweden, Milan is currently third on the Prince Albert Raiders in scoring (23 goals, 27 assists), despite having only played 38 games, 6 games behind the leader, Scott Hartnell who has 56 points (15 goals, 41 assists).

Jan Fadrny was a sixth round selection in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Today he is second on the Brandon Wheat Kings in scoring (48 points), and leads the team in goals (24). A 6-foot, 187-pound center, Jan is an explosive offensive player with excellent puck handling skills and a knack for protecting the puck. Another native of the Czech Republic, he too could potentially do very well under the direction of Ivan Hlinka in Pittsburgh, and would be another nice compliment to the man most of us consider the greatest player in the world, Jaromir Jagr.

Jeremy Van Hoof, a dependable stay-at-home defenseman who was drafted in the second round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, is having a spectacular season. In 51 games, he has only 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists), but his plus-minus rating is extremely impressive. Jeremy leads the team with a plus 33, a strong indication of his defensive abilities.

Whether or not a new coach can have an immediate affect on the Pittsburgh Penguins remains to be seen. One thing is for certain however, the Penguins of tomorrow, players such as Caron, Meloche, Kraft, Fadnry, Van Hoof, and numerous others, could help to one day turn the dream of consistent success into reality.


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Statistics (as of 2/12/00):

GP G A PTS PIM
*John Slaney 36 21 25 46 19
Martin Sonnenberg 41 13 23 36 89
Tom Kostopoulos 48 18 17 35 68
Valentin Morozov 45 13 21 34 2
Greg Crozier 44 15 17 32 25
*Sven Butenschon 48 11 16 27 60
Alexei Kolkunov 47 9 14 23 19
*Dennis Bonvie 29 2 20 22 210
Boris Protsenko 41 9 10 19 33
Robert Dome 29 5 15 20 52
*Tyler Wright 25 5 15 20 86
Pavel Skrbek 41 6 12 18 34
Andrew Ference 16 3 9 12 38
Josef Melichar 52 3 8 11 81
Mark Murphy 10 3 6 9 2
Casey Harris 49 5 3 8 112
Chris Kelleher 42 0 8 8 34
Jean Paul Tessier 52 3 3 6 72
Kurtis Drummond 41 2 3 5 16
Steve Leach 4 2 3 5 4
Alexandre Mathieu 26 3 1 4 8
Dylan Gyori 36 2 2 4 23
**Mike Yeo 19 1 3 4 4
Mike Pomichter 16 1 2 3 11
Tom O'Connor 17 0 1 1 4
Ryan Bach 14 0 0 0 18
Louis Bedard 5 0 0 0 12
Craig Hiller 12 0 0 0 0
Troy Maguire 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Parson 0 0 0 0 0
Peter Vandermeer 3 0 0 0 5

GP Mins AVG W L T
Ryan Bach 26 1474 3.62 7 14 3
David Weninger 23 1207 3.63 6 9 3
*Jean Sebastien Aubin 11 535 4.37 2 8 0
Craig Hiller 12 557 4.63 1 7 2

* Playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins

** Mike Yeo was named assistant coach of the Wilkes-Br/Scranton Penguins

Jr. Pens Last Game/Recap:

-Saturday, February 12th, The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins headed into Louisville, Kentucky carrying a six-game winless streak. Thanks however, to the efforts of Boris Protsenko (2 goals), Steve Leach (1 goal, 1 assist), Alexei Kolkunov (3 assists), and goaltender Ryan Bach, who stopped 33 shots, the “Jr. Pens” were able to claim a 6-5 victory over the Panthers. Not only was a 6 game winless streak snapped, but also a 3 game road losing streak.


AHL -Empire Division Standings:
GP W L T PTS
Syracuse 54 26 21 7 59
Rochester 53 25 21(2) 7 59
Albany 54 22 28(2) 4 50
Hamilton 55 17 26(3) 12 49
Wilkes-Br/Scranton 52 12 33(2) 7 33



Wheeling Nailers Top 10 (as of 2/12/00):
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
Curtis Wilgosh 48 18 19 37 0 52
Derek Smith 46 14 18 32 -12 94
Rob Millar 37 8 21 29 -10 14
(Totals) 45 8 23 31 -16 18
Shannon Basaraba 35 8 15 23 -7 11
(Totals) 41 8 17 25 -7 11
Jon Sorg 47 7 16 23 2 92
Kevin Paden 43 10 12 22 -15 55
Vladimir Gratchev 31 9 13 22 2 6
Jeff Burgoyne 39 9 11 20 -10 14
(Totals) 48 9 13 22 -11 20
Rob Sinclair 28 4 13 17 -1 2
(Totals) 42 7 15 22 -2 14
Dimitri Sergeev 36 5 16 21 2 10

Nailers last few games:

-Saturday, February 12th, The Wheeling Nailers fell to the Dayton Bombers by a score of 1-4

-Friday, February 11th, The Wheeling Nailers fell to the Toledo Storm by a score of 5-7.

-Wednesday, February 9th, The Wheeling Nailers defeated the Johnstown Chiefs by a score of 3-1. Ironically, Johnstown is the team in which the Penguins organization assigned Craig Hillier to.


ECHL -Northwest Standings:

GP W L SOL PTS GF GA
Peoria 46 30 13 3 63 169 136
Dayton 51 25 19 7 57 172 171
Huntington 49 23 18 8 54 158 166
Johnstown 47 23 17 7 53 162 153
Toledo 44 18 21 5 41 142 160
Wheeling 49 15 31 3 33 139 184

Transactions, News, and Notes:

2/1/00 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) signed Peter Vandermeer to a 25-game professional tryout
Peter had recorded 34 points (17goals, 17 assists) in 38 games so far this season with the Richmond Renegades (ECHL).

2/1/00 – Coach Glenn Patrick named Steve Leach, who was assigned to Wilkes-Barre by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Captain of the “Jr. Pens”

2/2/00 – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assigned Dylan Gyori to the Richmond Renegades (ECHL).

2/3/00 – The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled Sven Butenschon from Wilkes-Barre.

2/4/00 – Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) added goaltender Gran Van Laar as emergency backup.

2/4/00 – The Pittsburgh Penguins claimed right wing Pat Falloon off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers

2/7/00 – The Pittsburgh Penguins named Ivan Hlinka associate coach, and is expected to take over the helm of the team next season, following Herb Brooks’ retirement.

2/8/00 – The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled defenseman John Slaney and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, following the All-star break.

2/13/00 – Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mathew Barnaby and New York Islanders Eric Cairns were both suspended by the National Hockey League for an off-ice confrontation between the second and third periods of Saturday night’s game.

Players sidelined in Pittsburgh (as of 2/13/00):

Tom Chorske – listed day to day … dealing with shoulder injury and the illness of his father

Pete Popovic - had surgery on his finger and is out indefinitely as of Feb. 11th.

Peter Skudra -has been suffering from the flu the past several days and is listed day to day

German Titov -has been sick the past several days with the flu and now apparently has Strep Throat


Upcoming Games:

Pittsburgh Penguins -
2/14/00 7:30 Vancouver at Pittsburgh
2/16/00 7:30 Buffalo at Pittsburgh
2/19/00 7:30 Pittsburgh at Florida
2/21/00 5:00 Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins -
2/18/00 7:35 Wilkes-Br at Portland
2/19/00 7:05 Louisville at Wilkes-Br
2/21/00 4:00 Wilkes-Br at Philadelphia
2/23/00 7:00 Wilkes-Br at Springfield


Wheeling Nailers -
2/15/00 7:30 Wheeling at Greenville
2/18/00 7:30 Dayton at Wheeling
2/19/00 7:10 Wheeling at Huntington
2/25/00 7:30 Johnstown at Wheeling