The Wilkes-Barre Penguins opened their season last night against AHL powerhouse and division rivals the Hershey Bears with a 5-4 win. Some notes and observations:
--Chris Minard had a natural hat trick for the first three goals of the game. He's an unhearlded prospect but perhaps someone to keep an eye on.
--Ty Conklin reportedly gave up a few softies.
--Alex Goligoski was victimized in his first professional game, looked bad on the 3rd goal allowed, welcome to the pros kid! It should be noted however, that he played well on the powerplay. As expected. Goligoski and Letang manning the points is pretty formidable. Definitely raw, but very formidable.
--Most observers expected defensive mainstay Alain Nasreddine to be back in the AHL. He's not. With Mike Weaver getting claimed by Vancouver, the blueline was very young and doesn't have a real defensive dman to hang your hat on that you need in the AHL level. Ryan Lannon was the most experience player, and that's not going to cut it over a long season.
--Uber-pest Louis Robitaille was running his mouth as usual, and Lannon dropped him. Good times.
The lines were:
--Given that lineup, one has to wonder if tough guy in the making, Aaron Boogaard is about to spend some time in the Coast (ECHL). Certainly there will be no shortages of takers for a fight there.
A win is a win, so that's nice. But it's obvious that there's several good, experience forwards, but this team will need more foundation defensively. Given so many were making their pro debuts against a solid lineup, that's not to be unexpected.