Tom Kostopoulos knows a good deal when he sees one.
That's why he didn't hesitate to plug a ticket special the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are running for today's 7:05 p.m. game against Manchester.
It's Kostopoulos' first home game as a Penguin in eight years, and the organization is offering the TK Ticket Deal – two blue zone seats for $29 – the same number as his jersey.
Come and get 'em folks. It's a good deal, Kostopoulos said after Thursday's practice at Coal Street. I think I'm going to buy a couple.
The last time Kostopoulos skated at the Mohegan Sun Arena wearing a Penguins uniform was in 2004 during the team's Calder Cup Finals series against Milwaukee Admirals. The Penguins were swept 4-0 in the series and Kostopoulos remembers it well.
It was a tough night. Although we were down 3-0, we thought we could come back, he said. It was a tough series but a fun run. It was a fun time in Wilkes-Barre playing hockey in the spring.
Now Kostopoulos is back in Wilkes-Barre, hoping to get back to the NHL where he has already logged more than 600 games.
He's ready to play and he's playing good hockey, said head coach John Hynes. This isn't a situation where anyone's doing anyone favors here. He's trying to get himself back to the NHL and he looks good.
Last weekend Kostopoulos played in his first pair of games as a new Penguin, posting an assist and a plus-1. He played on a line with physical forwards Zach Sill and Adam Payerl and liked what he saw from both his linemates and himself.
I felt all right. My linemates kept me going. Sill and Payerl were flying out there so it was fun, Kostopoulos said. The second game out I felt better and hopefully I'll keep it going this weekend.
It will be a challenge. The Penguins play three games in three nights this weekend, which is something that Kostopoulos hasn't done in a long time after spending the last eight seasons in the NHL.
It'll be tough. I'll have to take it one game at a time, he said.
And that first game tonight will be a big one – a welcome back of sorts for the team's all-time leading scorer.
It's exciting. It's been a while, Kostopoulos said of his return to the Mohegan Sun Arena. It's funny how my career has come full circle. It will be exciting to be back and see familiar faces and the arena again.
In addition to Kostopoulos, tonight will mark the first home game for newcomers Mark Eaton and Chad Kolarik. Both players played in the pair of road games last weekend – Kolarik notched a goal and Eaton had an assist. Hynes is happy with the play of all three of his new players. They brought a new energy within our team, he said. They're very smart players, good character guys.
On the injury front, Beau Bennett is considered day-to-day, Paul Thompson will be sidelined for a couple weeks and Phil Dupuis will remain out for the foreseeable future but not the season, Hynes said.
The team faces Manchester tonight. In their only meeting this season, the Penguins beat the Monarchs 3-0 behind a Jeff Zatkoff 33-save shutout. They host Adirondack on Saturday, which they beat 2-1 on Jan. 12. Brad Thiessen stopped 22 shots in the win. The Penguins wrap up the weekend with a 2 p.m. Sunday match in Hershey. Hynes said he was leaning toward Zatkoff for the start tonight.
Manchester at WBS Penguins
7:05 p.m. today