Friday, July 11, 2014

Pens to use Farnham on power play

December 19. 2013 11:57PM

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Up next…

Worcester Sharks (10-10-1-1, 22 points, 5th place in the Atlantic Division) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (16-7-1-2, 35 points, 1st place in the East Division)

7:05 p.m. today at the Mohegan Sun Arena

Listen live on The Sports Hub 102.3 FM

Players to watch:

Worcester - If he gets the starts, rookie netminder Troy Grosenick could give the Penguins a tough time putting points on the board. In nine games this season, Grosenick has a 2.01 GAA and a .922 save percentage, along with one shutout.

Penguins - After missing almost a month due to injury, C Nick Drazenovic is healthy and putting up points. In the three games since he came back, Drazenovic has at least a point in each for a total of one goal and three assists.

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Bobby Farnham admitted to sharing a good chuckle with assistant coach Alain Nasreddine after learning he will see some time on the power play during tonight’s game against Worcester.

But for the second-year Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin forward, whose game has been defined by agitating opponents, skating on the power play is no laughing matter.

In fact, it could turn out to be a perfect fit.

“He’s got great speed, a great puck recovery guy and gritty in and around the net,” said head coach John Hynes after Thursday’s practice at the Toyota Sportsplex. “With those attributes, we felt we should give him a chance.”

It also helps that most of the Penguins’ offensive threats have been recalled to Pittsburgh, leaving voids at virtually all areas of the ice.

And plenty of opportunity.

“Just the way this year’s gone with all the call-ups, everyone’s going to have to play their role and more,” Farnham said.

Everyone knows what Farnham’s role is at even strength, but what will it be on the power play?

“Something that gets overlooked on the power play is going to the hard areas and retrieving pucks,” he said. “If you can use that speed and grit and get pucks back to your teammates and go back to those hard areas, that’s more important than people think.”

Aside from his attributes, Farnham earned time on the power play thanks to his recent performance, Hynes said. With back-to-back games this weekend and all the call-ups to Pittsburgh, Hynes and his staff sat down this week to determine who would get the extra ice time.

“With Bobby, he’s playing really well and consistent every night, so there’s a guy you’re looking to give more ice time to,” Hynes said. “He’s come through for us in a number of different ways and this is a deserved opportunity for him. We’re going to give him a chance.”

It’s a chance at a role that Farnham is surprisingly familiar with. He’s played on the power play through high school, college, during nine games with Wheeling and in a game last season with the Penguins.

“It’s not something that when you see your name on it you’re like ‘Oh geez what do I do,’” Farnham said. “If you’re playing at this level, basically everyone’s played the power play at some point along the way. You just have to work the same as you always do and good things will happen.”


- On the injury front, D Reid McNeill won’t be ready to return to action this weekend.

- G Eric Hartzell will start in net tonight, according to Hynes.

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