Wilkes-Barre's Peters could see new NHL opportunities

| Sunday, March 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The biggest impression Warren Peters made on Penguins fans this season came when he was steamrolled by a Brooks Orpik open-ice hit in an intrasquad scrimmage at Consol Energy Center in January.

But with winger Tom Kostopoulos and his 615 NHL games claimed on waivers by the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and center Phil Dupuis and his 116 NHL games out indefinitely with an injury, Peters soon may be in position to make a different kind of splash.

If the Penguins need to call up a forward from Wilkes-Barre and don't want to break in an inexperienced player during a condensed 48-game season, Peters probably would be their man.

The 30-year-old checking line center has 96 NHL games to his credit, including 58 under head coach Mike Yeo with the Minnesota Wild last season.

There's nothing fancy about the 6-foot, 204-pounder's game, but he makes few mistakes, kills penalties well and, last year, won 58.9 percent of his faceoffs with the Wild.

Saying goodbye

Kostopoulos' departure this week was, naturally, a bigger story in Wilkes-Barre than it was in Pittsburgh.

In the NHL, he's a depth player. In the AHL, he's a star. In fact, before he left for New Jersey, Kostopoulos became the first player in franchise history to record 100 goals in a Baby Pens uniform when he scored against Hershey on March 1.

Kostopoulos was complimentary of the organization's prospects on his way out of town.

“It's a great team down here,” he said. “They've got a lot of good young prospects. I'd tell the fans to take these guys in while they're here because I think they'll be moving up to Pittsburgh soon.”

Seeking a spark

The Baby Pens have fallen into a deep scoring slump in the last month with just nine goals in their last seven games heading into the weekend. They won four of those seven games thanks to solid defense and goaltending, but they'll need to improve their offensive output to get anywhere in the AHL's postseason.

Perhaps the return of second-year winger Paul Thompson will help their fortunes.

Thompson was scheduled to be back in the lineup this weekend after missing 15 games with an upper-body injury. He scored five goals in the eight games before he got hurt and still leads the team with five game-winning goals this season despite missing a month and a half.

Causing trouble

Agitating winger Bobby Farnham came into the weekend with 16 fighting majors this season — seventh-most in the AHL and one off the Baby Pens rookie record of 17 set by Daniel Carcillo in 2005-06.

“I think most of the teams in the league want to kill me by now,” he said. “That's when I know I'm doing my job.”

Jonathan Bombulie has covered the Baby Pens for the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre since the team's inception in 1999. Reach him at jbombulie@aol.com.

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