The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who suited up for the first exhibition game – Wednesday's 4-3 win over Rochester – indirectly sent a message to the team's veterans with their effort: Top that.
On Wednesday, the scoring was provided by a pair of second-year players – Paul Thompson and Brian Gibbons – and rookies Adam Payerl and Jayson Megna. Despite a lineup laden with youth, head coach John Hynes was thrilled with how his team played.
"They played with a lot of energy and a high compete level, which gave us a great chance for success," he said. "They did a nice job implementing some things that we had worked on in camp."
With the second exhibition game set for tonight with a Rochester rematch at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Hynes said the lineup will feature more veterans.
In fact, the lineup for the next three exhibition games that will be played today, Saturday (home) and Sunday (at Hershey) will feature more a veteran mix.
And they'll all be expected to at least match the success that Wednesday's group of youngsters achieved.
"We're really looking for the same thing," Hynes said. "The challenge for the older guys is to bring the energy, compete level and execution of our system."
The latter is notably important, Thompson said. In addition to getting re-accustomed to game action after a long summer, Thompson said it's imperative that the Penguins establish a firm grasp on the team's system before the start of the season.
"The systems here are so important and there are only four exhibition games and limited training camp time until the games start to count," he said. "(On Wednesday) we did the things we've been working on so far in camp, and it's good to get used to things again."
7:05 p.m. today
7:05 p.m. Saturday
5 p.m. Sunday