Friday, October 9, 2009

Bears at Pens for first of 12 this season

After almost a full week off in what at this point feels like the last preseason game the Bears get back to game action against the rival Penguins in Wilkes-Barre.

This is the first of 12 games between the I-81 rivals and while the animosity will always be there this isn't the same Penguins team from last season. The roster is completely different this season. Of the 37 players that played in a regular season game in 08-09 only 11 players remain and that includes 2 goalies.

Look at this....

Top 5 Scorers............all gone
Top 10 Scorers..........3 remain
Top 20 Scorers..........6 remain (2 of which are defensemen)

That is some serious roster turnover. Now that does not mean there isn't talent filling in the roster. (to see the roster click here)

  • RW - Konstantin Pushkarev - totaled 40 points in 49 games for the Iowa Stars in 07-08 and spent last season in the KHL.
  • LW - Casey Pierro-Zabotel - rookie who totaled 115 points (36 goals) in 72 games in the WHL last season.
  • C - Wyatt Smith - played most of last season with San Antonio and scored 16 goals in 53 games.
  • RW - Chris Conner - spent half the season last year with the Dallas Stars totaling 13 points in 38 games. In the AHL with Peoria he scored 16 goals in 30 games.
  • F - Eric Tangradi - another rookie who was an offensive force for 3 straight years in the OHL. Totaled 88 points in 55 regular season games last season and added 21 in 16 games in the playoffs.
  • LW - Ryan Bayda - Spent the entire season last year with the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • F - Joey Haddad - yet another rookie who was offensive minded in juniors playing the QMJHL. Totaled 76 goals in the last 2 seasons.

The defense is similar with names like D'Aversa, Engelland, and Caffaro returning while they add Nate Guenin from the Phantoms and Chris Lee from Bridgeport. And the goalies remain the same, Adam Berkhoel and John Curry.

You can see the changes that have been made. This is NOT the same team from last season. The forwards returning are easy to count, 6 of them. Luca Caputi, Dustin Jeffrey, Nick Johnson, Joe Vitale and Aaron Boogaard were all rookies last year who will get more time this season. Tim Wallace is the one veteran returning from last season.

Either way you look at it this is not the same team. The animosity probably won't be there early although Wade Brookbank and Jesse Boulerice are also on the team and could make it interesting for guys like Branden Sugden and (eventually) Grant McNeill. Any way you look at it though, after 12 games these teams will hate each other.

This Penguins team looks similar to the 07-08 Bears...young and relying on a couple veterans. I would expect to see the same kind of season for them too.


Hershey Bears
record ~ 1-0-0-0 2 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-1 Win vs Norfolk, 10/3
last 5 games ~ 1-0-0-0
road record ~ 0-0-0-0
goals for ~ 3
goals against ~1
power play ~ 50.0% (1st)
penalty kill ~ 100.0% (1st)


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
record ~ 1-0-0-0 2 points
standings ~ 3rd in East Division
most recent game ~ 4-2 Win vs Syracuse, 10/3
last 5 games ~ 1-0-0-0
home record ~ 1-0-0-0
goals for ~ 4
goals against ~ 2
power play ~ 20.0% (12th)
penalty kill ~ 85.7% (10th)

last time teams met - Hershey won in 7 games in the East Division Finals last Spring.

Players to watch:

Hershey:

RW Steve Pinizzotto (13)- With the Penguins physical players a guy like Pinner could play a huge role. Make sure he keeps his cool and plays his game and he should draw a few penalties.
G Michael Neuvirth (30) - Assuming he gets the start tonight it will be interesting to see how he plays. He was having a great camp with the Caps before a hip injury ended his run.
RW Andrew Gordon (10) - Scored 3 goals last Saturday night to help the team get the opening night victory. Is he ready to become a premier goal scorer? Let's hope so.

Penguins:

LW Luca Caputi (19) - The top returning scorer, he had 45 points and 18 goals, needs to take the next step after his rookie season.
D Dustin Jeffrey (21) - Another rookie who played a lot for the Pens last season he added 11 goals and 26 assists in 63 games.
RW Chris Conner (23) - Takes over Ryan Stone's old number and he can score. In his limited time in the AHL last season he had 16 goals in 30 games.


LET'S GO BEARS!!!

1 comment:

Icarus said...

Great pre-game post!

Go Bears!