Friday, December 19, 2014

Wennberg Called Up

The Puck Rakers are reporting that Brian Gibbons has been placed on injured reserve with a bum knee, and that Alexander Wennberg and Cody Goloubef have been called up from AHL Springfield.  In 6 games in Springfield, Wennberg was 0G-3A-3P and a +/- of +4.

Gibbons was injured in last night's game, and only skated a couple of shifts in the third period.  Gibbons was 0-5-5 with a +/- of +2.  So if you ask yourself what role does Wennberg need to fill, it's that of Gibbons.  Wennberg has speed, and in his previous stint in the NHL he was 0-3-3 (similar to Gibbons), with a +/- of -14 (not similar to Gibbons).  The latter number is a bit deceiving, as in the height of the injury problem he was thrust into the role of playing third line center as a rookie.  The return of Dubinsky has shored up the center position somewhat, and he will not face as much pressure as he did previously.  He may end up on Foligno's wing.

Here's my observation on Wennberg's play.  He was overwhelmed at times, no doubt.  But he was getting the hang of playing the possession game along the boards, and at times was quite effective at that style of play.  On Foligno's wing he faces no more pressure than Gibbons faced, and he may have a chance to thrive.  Wennberg can be a pretty versatile player, and I will be very interested in how he plays.  He wouldn't be the first one to decide he likes that Pros better than the minors, and is able to do something about it.

Goloubef was on a conditioning assignment in Springfield, and had to come up before the roster freeze takes effect at midnight tonight.  He joins a log jam at defenseman, that has a veteran, Jordan Leopold, sitting even though he has played very well.  A log jam of defensemen who can play well is a good problem to have.

Tomorrow night the Blackhawks come to town.  Brace yourself for a lot of Chicago fans tomorrow.  What should be fun is that they have never really experienced the full on C-B-J chant, as it really arose after we had played them last year.  Jackets fans will need to pin their ears back and come ready to get loud.  I expect a playoff atmosphere Saturday, much like it was at the last Penguins game.  I'd be really happy with a similar result.


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