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Monitoring progress with big workout


February 20. 2013 12:32AM
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Warren Peters sat in his locker stall and had the answers before the questions were asked.


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had just endured a grueling practice that lasted nearly two hours and was laden with a heavy dose of skating and conditioning.


Afterward, a reporter asked Peters, who is a veteran 10 pro seasons, if Wednesday's practice was particularly tough.


Yes, Peters replied, then took the interview into his own hands.


Did we have it coming? Yes, he said. Was it deserved? Yes.


Why? Because the Penguins are 1-7-3 in their last 11games. They are currently two points ahead of last place in the East Division, and three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.


Benn Ferriero called Wednesday's practice a wake-up call. It began at 11 a.m. with conditioning tests where players' heart rates were measured as they skated the length of the ice several times. In the middle were several drills that focused on play down low, and the session culminated with groups of players skating laps around the ice shortly before 1 p.m.


Head coach John Hynes said he wasn't trying to send a message with the practice.


The drills were things we want to get better at, and at the end we had a little bit of conditioning, he said. (The testing) is just something to see where guys are at from the beginning of the year until now as far as stamina.


There's really no messages to send other than there's areas of our game that have to get better.


Robert Bortuzzo, who has been with the Penguins during all three seasons of Hynes' tenure as head coach, said Wednesday's practice wasn't entirely out of the norm. Bortuzzo remembers similar practices at the halfway point of past seasons being held as a way to check on where each player was physically.


What is out of the norm, he admitted, is the Penguins recent skid.


We're looking for answers. Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre always had a winning culture, and we know that not winning isn't acceptable, Bortuzzo said. We're positive we're going to turn things around.


How?


Ferriero has one suggestion.


You really have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask what you can do better, he said. It comes down to the guys in this room to elevate their games.


In the meantime, the physical demands of Wednesday's practice and the mental toll of the last 11 games better should provide a strong wakeup call for the Penguins locker room.


You don't get this far without it having an effect on you, Peters said. You have to be a pretty selfish guy in order for it not to have an impact on you.


Notes

• Keven Veilleux practiced in full on Wednesday, leaving only Tom Kuhnhackl as the only injured Penguin. The Penguins now have 15 forwards and nine defensemen who are healthy.


• Hynes acknowledged that one of the reasons behind the team's dismal play of late is the lack of production from several key players. Eric Tangradi hasn't scored in his last 10 games, Benn Ferriero in the last nine, Riley Holzapfel and Dylan Reese in the last eight, and Phil Dupuis hasn't notched a goal since Oct. 21. You've got to have guys step up and play well and perform, Hynes said.


• A taping of Chillin' with the Penguins will be held today at 5:45 p.m. in the lobby of the Ice Rink at Coal Street. Admission is free. Guests will be Bobby Farnham and Jayson Megna, and the show will air on Saturday.


UP NEXT


WBS Penguins


at



Binghamton



Senators


7:05 p.m.


Friday





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