WILKES-BARRE — Greg McKegg didn’t have much time to become acquainted with his new Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin teammates.
On the same day he was re-assigned by Pittsburgh — Dec. 8 — McKegg played in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s game against Charlotte that night. After practicing with the team on Saturday, McKegg was back on the ice the following day for the Penguins’ game in Hershey.
McKegg, who sat out the last few games in Pittsburgh before being sent to Wilkes-Barre, didn’t mind the quick turnaround.
“I hadn’t played for about a week so it was nice to get a few quick games in,” he said after Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota Sportsplex.
After a day off on Monday, McKegg used Tuesday’s practice to become familiar with his new teammates and begin working his way back to Pittsburgh.
In 26 games with the parent club, McKegg centered the third or fourth lines and posted two goals and four points.
He said he wants to work on the small details of his game while in the American Hockey League, along with his play away from the puck and the defensive side of things.
“When you’re down here you want to refine every part of your game,” McKegg said.
For as long as McKegg remains with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, head coach Clark Donatelli is happy to have him. In his first two games McKegg centered a line with Daniel Sprong, and Donatelli said McKegg’s speed will be a benefit on both the penalty kill and power play.
“He’s a top six player in this league and really good defensively,” Donatelli said.
While McKegg gets to know his new Penguin teammates, on Wednesday he’ll face a few familiar faces when the Springfield Thunderbirds come to town. McKegg appeared in seven games with the Thunderbirds last season while playing for the Florida Panthers organization.
Goaltender Casey DeSmith was re-assigned by Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but wasn’t on the ice for practice. Donatelli said DeSmith will start in net on Wednesday and Sean Maguire will serve as the backup. Anthony Peters, who signed a professional tryout agreement with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Dec. 1, is expected to be released.
While DeSmith was with Pittsburgh, Maguire played well for the Penguins, notching a 1.54 goals against average and a .938 save percentage in three games.
“Maguire made the best of a good opportunity,” Donatelli said. “Every game he played, he gave us a chance to win.”
Tom Sestito and Lukas Bengtsson didn’t practice on Tuesday and won’t play Wednesday, according to Donatelli. Jarred Tinordi participated in the second half of Tuesday’s practice and may return this weekend.
Bobby Farnham will return to the Mohegan Sun Arena as a member of the Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday. The energetic, physical forward spent the first three seasons of his pro career with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Skudalski practices with Pens
Defenseman Craig Skudalski, who is from Wyoming, joined the Penguins on the ice for Tuesday’s practice. The 6-foot-7 Skudalski, 22, was recently released from his team in the Southern Professional Hockey League and will be practicing with the Penguins while he waits for a new opportunity. Donatelli said Wheeling may be interested in the local player at some point.
“It’s a good opportunity for him and it helps us out with an even number of pairings for drills. It’s not a bad pit stop for him to be here,” Donatelli said.
“We think there’s potential with him. There’s not too many 6-7 guys that have skill and come walking by the arena now and then.”