Last updated: October 04. 2013 12:52AM - 2024 Views
By - tvenesky@civitasmedia.com

Tom Kostopoulos, seen here speaking to a school group last season, has been named the Penguins' captain for the 2013-14 season.
Tom Kostopoulos, seen here speaking to a school group last season, has been named the Penguins' captain for the 2013-14 season.
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Throughout his 14 seasons of pro hockey, Tom Kostopoulos has played with some of the hockey's greatest leaders — Rod Brind'Amour, Saku Koivu and Jarome Iginla, to name a few.
Over the years he's learned from each, and now Kostopoulos will apply those leadership lessons after he was named the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' captain for the 2013-14 season.
Head coach John Hynes made the announcement after Thursday's practice, listing numerous qualities that made Kostopoulos, 34, the perfect choice.
“He's someone that's respected and has a presence in the room, he can lead by example on the ice and he's the type of quality person we want to have leading our team,” Hynes said.
Kostopoulos becomes the 18th captain in franchise history and it's his third stint wearing the “C” for the Penguins. He served as the team's captain for the 2002-03 season and part of the 2003-04 campaign.
Despite prior experience with the role, Kostopoulos still greeted Thursday's announcement with enthusiasm.
“I'm happy about it. Part of my role will be to help the guys and show them the ropes I learned through my career,” he said. “It should be fun.”
Kostopoulos has 630 NHL games to his credit and was a member of the first Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team in 1999. He spent parts of six seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and holds franchise records for games played (335), goals (100), assists (153), points (253) and playoff scoring (38 points in 51 games).
Another familiar face and a newcomer will serve as assistant captains for the upcoming season. Zach Sill, who is entering his fifth season with the Penguins, and new defenseman Brendan Mikkelson were selected as assistants.
“Zach has been here for quite a while and he epitomizes how we want to play,” Hynes said. “He's really developed as a player and he's at that point of his career where he's ready for a leadership role.”
During his career with the Penguins, Sill has added new roles to his resume, such as a pivotal penalty killer. Now, adding a leadership role is something Sill feels he's ready to grasp.
“It feels nice to be recognized as one of the leaders,” he said. “The last couple of years I've been one of the guys staying here every year, and I know the organization, the coaching staff and the community. This is a huge compliment.”
Mikkelson signed with the Penguins in the summer after he faced them in the playoffs as a member of the Syracuse Crunch. He has appeared in 131 NHL games during his six-year pro career.
“I trained with Brendan over the summer and he works hard and practices hard,” Kostopoulos said. “He's a heck of a player and a good guy. He and Zach are great choices for assistant captains.”
Last season, the Penguins waited until the end of February to name a captain. Hynes said the move was made much earlier this season because the choices were more obvious.
“When we went after some players (in the summer) some of it was with leadership in mind,” he said. “They were clearly defined guys we felt could come in and be leaders. They didn't disappoint in the way they've led so far,” Hynes said.
• The Penguins signed G Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and F Mike Carman to 25-game PTOs. Also, rookies Cody Sylvester and Carter Rowney were signed to AHL contracts.
• WBRE-TV (NBC) will broadcast the 2013-14 season opener game between the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and the Hershey Bears live on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.
The broadcast is the continuation of an ongoing collaboration between Eyewitness News (WBRE and WYOU) and the Penguins, who partnered in the 2012-13 season for the Eyewitness News “Fan Fridays” promotion.
“We couldn't be more thrilled with the opportunity to bring this game to our viewers. We know so many are Penguins fans and we're all looking forward to the 15th season home opener on the 12th,” vice president and general manager of WBRE-TV Bob Bee said. “We're all about producing great local TV and there's nothing more local than our Penguins.”

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