October 31, 2012
On the stat sheet the game doesn't stand out – no points and a minus-1 rating.
But for Warren Peters, that single game in which he suited up for the Portland Pirates in the late stages of the 2003 AHL season was the start of a long pro career. One that, so far, spans 10 seasons, 11 teams, three leagues and 96 games of NHL time.
On Friday, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins take on Manchester, Peters can add 500 games as a pro to the list.
It's been a lot of commitment, Peters said after Wednesday's practice at Coal Street. Not just by me, but from the people close to me – my family and my wife.
After spending six seasons in juniors, the Saskatoon, Sask., native broke into the AHL in 2003 appearing in one game with Portland. He spent part of the next season with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL before moving up to the Utah Grizzlies in the AHL.
Peters spent his second full pro season in the ECHL, but after that he has bounced between the AHL and NHL, including the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild.
There's been a lot of great people and different organizations that I've been to – that's what I'll remember the most, he said.
And there's also the lesson that Peters learned from other veterans as his journey to 500 games was just beginning.
Learning how to be a pro. What that entailed and what that meant, Peters said. I got that drilled into my head by more than one coach.
Peters' longevity in the game is attributable to the way he goes about business on and off the ice, said Penguins head coach John Hynes. Hard work on the ice and taking care of himself away from it made the milestone possible, Hynes said.
It's a big-time achievement. To play 500 games you have to have character, durability and a strong passion to play the game, Hynes said. It's a tribute to who he is as a person.
While Peters is proud of the milestone, he's not quite ready to set his sights on 1,000 games. Instead, Peters is concerned with something more immediate.
I don't know if I'll get 500 more, but I am ready for the rest of this season. That's my focus right now, he said.
• D Robert Bortuzzo
, F Keven Veilleux, F Jayson Megna and F Denver Manderson participated in their second full practice this week. Bortuzzo and Manderson are both ready to play, Hynes said, and Veilleux and Megna are both day-to-day and possible to return this weekend.
Hynes paired Bortuzzo with long-time defense partner Brian Strait during Wednesday's practice. Hynes said it's possible they will be paired up for this weekend's games.
• Over the last four games the Penguins' penalty kill has been a perfect 21-for-21. The team has won two of those games, and Hynes said the penalty kill is a big reason behind it.
We went in last weekend against three of the top power play units and the guys did an excellent job, Hynes said. They killed key penalties at key times and were big difference makers in us having some success.
• The Penguins will practice at 9 a.m. this morning and then depart for Manchester in the afternoon. They face the Monarchs on Friday at 7 p.m.