The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins wrapped up their preseason with a 3-1 setback to Hershey at GIANT Center on Sunday (full recap here).
WBS finished the preseason with a 1-2-1 record. They have Monday off before returning to practice Tuesday. They open the 2012-13 regular season on the road vs. the Binghamton Senators that Saturday (Oct. 13), and WBS head coach John Hynes is looking forward to a few days of having his team work on cleaning up their play.
“I think we have some work to do in some certain areas to tighten up how we play and how we want to play,” he said. “We’ll be able to do that this week and make sure we’re ready to go for Saturday.”
Here’s a few final thoughts on WBS’ preseason…
- One player who thoroughly impressed throughout training camp practices, inter-squad scrimmages and preseason games was rookie forward Jayson Megna.
Megna led WBS with three goals in three exhibition contests, was a force around the net and saw time on the power play. He has the WBS coaching staff excited about his smarts, skill and poise in all situations.
“He’s a high compete, high IQ player,” Hynes said of the 22-year-old Chicago native. “You can see his speed. He has good talent, and he can do things at a high pace and under pressure. Because of his work ethic and smarts, he finds way to score goals.
“He has an idea of where to be. His anticipation is good. And when he’s under pressure, he knows what he’s going to do before he gets the puck. I think that’s what helps guys be able to produce offense at this level.”
“I’ve been playing with good people,” Megna said of his success. “Everyone at this level is very good. They’re here for a reason. I worked hard in the summer and getting ready for this camp. These exhibition games are something I’ve been looking forward to, so it’s pretty exciting for me.”
While Megna is pleased with what he’s showed the coaching staff so far, he knows he still has a lot of work to do in order to be successful in his first professional season.
“I’m still getting a feel for it,” he said. “It’s a bit different from college hockey, but I just have to keep getting out there and keep getting reps and hopefully I’ll get more comfortable with the pace.”
- Megna wasn’t the only first-year pro to have a solid preseason. Pittsburgh’s 2010 first-round draft pick Beau Bennett played in three exhibition contests, his first game action in 10 months due to a wrist injury, and was fearless battling along the boards, in the corners and in front of the net.
Defensemen Brian Dumoulin and Joe Morrow looked comfortable on the back end, giving smart, solid performances. And a couple of the rookie forwards – Adam Payerl and Dominik Uher – showed mettle by each dropping the gloves during the preseason.
“They definitely made an impression,” Hynes said. “The willingness is huge because not everybody has it and it’s not a natural thing to do. It’s a huge team play. You’re giving up your body. You could get hurt at any time. It’s a difficult situation. It’s one of the biggest things you can do as a teammate.”
Overall, Hynes is pleased with the progress his rookies have made since training camp opened. He's looking for them to really utilize this upcoming week of practices.
“There’s been a lot thrown at them,” he said. “There’s been a lot of hockey in a short amount of time and some pretty competitive games. They’ve done a nice job. I like where they’re at now. We’d like to see them continue to grow and get better, particularly with these four days of practice before our first game. We have a good long week – really two weeks with one game in-between – so hopefully we can make some more progress with them.”
- The Penguins are expecting leadership from the veteran players the organization signed during the offseason, namely forwards Philippe Dupuis, Riley Holzapfel, Warren Peters, Trevor Smith and Benn Ferriero and defenseman Dylan Reese. The team highly respects these experienced individuals and will be looking to them to set an example for their teammates.
Peters and Dupuis, who both wore A’s on their jerseys in their two preseason appearances, have each played a lot of games in the National Hockey League and have both gone to Calder Cup Finals during their careers. They looked great playing on a line with Eric Tangradi, which could be a trio that has success during the regular season, and Hynes feels they and the rest of the newcomers are handling their new systems well.
“They’ve done a good job,” Hynes said. “They’re pretty bright players. We’ve tried to get a certain type of player to come in this year as veterans that can play the style and kind of have natural instincts for it and speed to their game. Those guys have done a nice job. Now it’s really putting all the pieces together at a little bit of a higher level coming up this week.
- Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo left in the first period of Friday’s shootout loss to Rochester and did not return. He did not dress for Saturday and Sunday’s games. Hynes said following Saturday’s game that Bortuzzo was day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Brad Thiessen (played whole game)
A few photos from around GIANT Center...