Penguins Search For Success

By pbadmin

A string of injuries, a struggling defense and a tremendous amount of “bad luck” tie the Pens and their affiliates together with inconsistent success. Each of them desperately needs to improve their records if they hope to make it to post season play.

The latest example of bad luck came when goaltender Tom Barrasso was handed a 4 game suspension by the NHL, for carelessly using his stick and breaking the forearm of center Yanic Perreault. Jean-Sebastien Aubin was called up from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to fill the void.

Aubin has been rather impressive this season, but is no match for Barrasso in terms of puck-handling skills. When you’re a team who struggles in the defensive zone, it’s nice to have a goalie that can play the puck. On the bright side however, Aubin did prove himself with 5 solid outings prior to being sent down to the American Hockey League.

It’s uncertain whether Aubin or Skudra will put in the most ice time during Barrasso’s absence, but Aubin is by far the favored candidate.

Pittsburgh’s loss, is now also Wilkes-Barre’s loss. They too have been left without a preferred number one. Statistically speaking however, Aubin has struggled in the American Hockey League this season. Prior to December 1st, he was 0-4. Thankfully, hard work did not go unmerited that evening as 27 saves and a team full of determination inevitably led to an overtime victory.

Unfortunately, December 3rd quickly burst the bubble of confidence that had been formed. In the blink of an eye, the “Jr. Pens” found themselves back on the rollercoaster. John Slaney started off the scoring with a power play goal (assisted by Tyler Wright) at 5:24 of the first period. Martin Sonnenberg added a power play goal (assisted by Slaney, Protsenko) at 4:25 of the second period, but it wasn’t enough as the Hershey Bears defeated them with a final score of 4-2.

On December 4th, the “Jr. Pens” found more of the same as they were defeated by the Philadelphia Phantom 7-2. Rob Dome and Tom Kostopoulos provided a goal a piece, but the rest of the team appeared flat and the defense left much to be desired.

When it comes to heart and spirit this organization has plenty, but what they lack is a sense of direction and continued motivation. In all fairness, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins were expected to hit a few bumps along the way as they work through an inaugural season in the American Hockey League. For them it’s a blessing just to play, but that doesn’t mean sub-satisfactory play is any less painful.

Perhaps it’s time to test some of the “Jr. Pens” and give them a chance in the NHL? A player such as Dennis Bonvie could potentially add a little spice to the mix, or Greg Crozier who has proven to give 100% of himself night in and night out despite a losing record. Then again, if the Penguins did call them up, where would they put them?

Team Stats:
GP W L T PTS
*Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) 24 8 13 3 23
Wilkes-Br/Scranton (AHL) 23 3 15 5 12
Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) 20 5 13 2 12

*as of Dec. 6, 1999 (Pittsburgh vs. NJ Devils 12/7/99)
Penguins in Pittsburgh Statistical Update:
GP G A PTS +/- Pim
Andrew Ference 24 2 4 6 1 16
Michal Rozsival 24 0 6 6 4 8
Hans Jonsson 18 0 0 0 -1 2

Penguins in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Top 10) Statistical Update:
GP G A PTS PIM
Dennis Bonvie 22 1 17 18 156
Tyler Wright 21 4 13 17 80
Martin Sonnenberg 21 7 9 16 28
John Slaney 13 8 7 15 9
Greg Crozier 21 9 4 13 6
Tom Kostopoulos 19 9 4 13 17
Sven Butenschon 21 6 5 11 36
Valentin Morozov 17 3 7 10 0
Boris Protsenko 21 3 6 9 20
Robert Dome 13 2 7 9 37
Junior Prospects statistical update:
(all stats are as of 12/6/99)
C Milan Kraft (Prince Albert -WHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
28 16 23 39 1 22
Kraft continues to lead in goals, but is tied in
assists with Scott Hartnell

C Jan Fadnry (Brandon -WHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
22 11 12 23 -6 14

C David Cameron (Saskatoon -WHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
31 10 16 26 5 31

D Jeremy Van Hoof (Ottawa -OHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
27 2 6 8 10 25

G Scott Myers (Prince George -WHL)
GP MINS GA SO AVG W L T SA SVS SV%
19 984 48 0 2.93 9 7 3 532 484 .910

C Joel Scherban (London -OHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
26 8 12 20 -7 4

C Tomas Skvaridlo (Kingston -OHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
26 7 19 26 12 6
Penguins News:
12/1/99 – goaltender Craig Hillier (WB/S of AHL) was loaned to Johnstown (ECHL)
12/1/99 – Pittsburgh Captain Jaromir Jagr was named NHL Player of the Month for November
12/6/99 – goaltender Tom Barrasso was suspended 4 games without pay for carelessly swinging his stick at Maple Leafs center Yanic Perreault in Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss.

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