Aside from the obvious importance of the games, there are a bunch of interesting story lines that will play out suring the 3 games in 3 days stretch. Let's take a closer look at a few of them:
-Sestito makes WBS season debut-
Last year, in his first season within the Penguins organization, Tom Sestito struggled with multiple injuries that left him unable to find a rhythm until late in the season. It was far from an ideal campaign for the veteran enforcer, but he was able to raise his level of play heading into the playoffs. The big, physical forward was able to register 4 points in 7 playoff games and played a pivotal role in helping the Pens sweep Providence and nearly upset Hershey in the second round. Despite playing great hockey, he found himself in a very public feud with Bears forward Liam O'Brien. The two rugged fighters traded barbs on Twitter, and fought a number of times throughout the seven game series. It just so happens that Sestito will make his WBS season debut against O'Brien and the Bears this evening after spending the first quarter of the season in Pittsburgh with the NHL Penguins.
|Guentzel is back form PIT|
-Guentzel back after successful stint in NHL-
Jake Guenztel has been stellar for the AHL Penguins ever since he came to the team from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. During his first call-up to Pittsburgh he played just as well, bursting onto the NHL scene by scoring on his first NHL shift and scoring a pair of goals in his first game. In total he would register 3 Goals and an Assist in 5 NHL games before being sent down earlier this week. How will the rookie handle his first professional demotion? I would guess that he will be just fine but it is always an important factor in a young player's development.
|Pouliot has been re-assigned.|
-Derrick Pouliot gets sent down again, this time it's official-
Pouliot played 3 games on a short conditioning stint with WBS a few weeks ago, he didn't put up big numbers but he did play consistently better in each game. This time he has been re-assigned for real, no conditioning involved. The young defenseman is a 2-time AHL All-Star and has been excellent for WBS during his entire career with the team, Unfortunately for Pouliot, his success hasn't quite translated to the NHL and the fans in Pittsburgh seem to be growing impatient. This has to be a disappointing time for the former 1st round pick, but he has performed well in the AHL in the past and he will have to do it again to prove that he belongs in Pittsburgh, The timing is certainly good for WBS as he will no doubt make them a better team on the ice heading into some big games.
It will be a crucial weekend for the AHL Penguins and these story lines will be fun to keep an eye on. Follow me on Twitter @WBSJeff_PI and make sure to read PensInitiative.com to keep up with my WBS Coverage. I will be on Press Row for both games against Hershey and will have a full recap complete with Post Game locker room reaction. Thanks for reading and for all of the support, it's always greatly appreciated!