During Wednesday's game against the Binghamton Senators, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin Bobby Farnham drilled opponents into the boards, gave them numerous whacks with his stick during faceoffs, jawed at the visitor's bench and ran their goaltender.
On the surface there appears to be a long-standing hatred between Farnham and the Senators, but in reality it's simply the way he plays the game.
(Last night) there was definitely a little adrenaline, but that's generally how I play, Farnham said after Thursday's practice. I like to be at full speed all the time.
And it showed.
Farnham had a few stitches on his forehead after his third-period hit on goaltender Robin Lehner sparked a scrum.
That's the second one this year, he said of the cut.
And it's still early.
Farnham, 23, spent the past four years with Brown University before embarking on a whirlwind pro career. Last season he played in three games each with Worcester and Providence in the AHL, and this year he was invited to Minnesota's development camp, then went to the Hamilton Bulldogs training camp, was sent to Wheeling (unsigned) and after nine games, 46 penalty minutes an four fights as a Nailer is now with the Penguins on a PTO.
It's been a pinball to say the least. I don't know what's happened, Farnham said. The more organizations, the better I guess. But right now I'm happy to be here in Wilkes-Barre.
And the Penguins are happy to have him.
Head coach John Hynes said Farnham caught the attention of Wheeling coach Clark Donatelli and the Pittsburgh staff who attended Nailers games. With Keven Veilleux and Zach Sill both out, Hynes aid there was a need for an agitator in the lineup.
On Wednesday, Farnham filled that need to Hynes' satisfaction.
Three or four times he was going after guys on faceoffs, going at their bench. When he comes over the boards he's ready to go, Hynes said. If you're not prepared or willing to compete against that, it's going to be a problem.
Farnham said he embraced his high intensity, physical style years ago when he realized goal scoring wouldn't be his forte.
As I grew older I realized my role would have to change. I had to find a unique role so I could be valuable to teams, he said.
Even if that means answering the bell for his actions, as he did four times in Wheeling. Fighting is something that comes with his style of play, Farnham said, and he's prepared for it.
If you're going to run the goalie, someone's going to come in with fists flying. You have to drop the gloves or I wouldn't be very good in my role, he said.
But that also means walking the fine line of taking a penalty at the wrong time, or of the wrong type. Farnham said he tries to avoid lazy penalties and accepts the fact that sometimes the whistle will blow after a hard hit. If a call is made as a result of working hard, Farnham can live with that.
So can Hynes, who wasn't upset when Farnham was issued a pair of minor after hitting Lehner in the head as he tried to cover the puck.
The way Farnham sees it, the puck was there and Lehner was in the way.
Coach gave us a pretty good speech between periods about playing tougher and getting in the other team's face. I was just trying to stir the pot and maybe give (Lehner) a little nudge, Farnham said. With the way I play there's going to be times when I take penalties. But I have to make sure it's because I hit a guy through the glass or I did something from hard work.
One game into his Penguins' career, that goal has been achieved.
F Domink Uher was the only player who didn't practice on Thursday.
The Penguins host the Hershey Bears tonight and remain home for a Saturday night contest against the Portland Pirates. Both games are at 7:05 p.m.
Hershey at Penguins
Portland at Penguins