ShareThis Page

Baby Pens notebook: Forward Gibbons enjoying uptick in scoring production

Jonathan Bombulie
| Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, 8:50 p.m.
Brendan Mikkelson
KDP Photography
Brendan Mikkelson
The Penguins' Zach Sill (lf) and Brian Gibbons fight for the puck during a scrimage on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at Consol Enrgy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Zach Sill (lf) and Brian Gibbons fight for the puck during a scrimage on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at Consol Enrgy Center.

In the first period of a game last Sunday in Manchester, N.H., Baby Pens forward Brian Gibbons went below the goal line to retrieve a dumped-in puck and quickly flicked an airborne backhand pass toward a teammate in the slot.

It hit Manchester goalie Jean-Francois Berube in the back of the head and bounced into the net.

When you're hot, you're hot.

Gibbons opened the season on a torrid scoring pace, putting up four goals and seven assists as the Baby Pens got off to a 6-0 start.

In one respect, it's a surprise. The 5-foot-8 Gibbons had just 30 points in 70 games in each of his first two seasons in the AHL.

In another respect, it's not. Gibbons had 101 points in 81 games in his final two seasons at Boston College before the Penguins signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

“He's a perfect example of a guy who's got all the hockey sense, all the ability, all the skill, but now his mind is right,” Baby Pens coach John Hynes said.

While the uptick in production doesn't hurt Gibbons' chances of making it to the NHL, it's probably not his ticket to the show. That would be his speed. He's one of the fastest players in the AHL, an attribute he has put to good use paired with Jayson Megna on one of the Baby Pens' top penalty-killing units.

“I want coach to be able to trust me against other teams' best players,” Gibbons said. “It's something I enjoy. If that was my role, I'd be good. I'd be happy with it, but I think I can provide more than that, too.”

Slow start

Around the same time the Penguins signed Gibbons out of Boston College, they also signed winger Paul Thompson out of the University of New Hampshire.

Thompson, who scored 20 goals in the AHL last season, has no goals and one assist in four games this season and was a healthy scratch twice.

“You've got to prove it through practice,” Hynes said. “You've got to make it known you're ready to play.”

Late show

In their first six games, the Baby Pens were tied after two periods three times and trailed heading into the third period twice. They won all five of those games.

Last weekend, winger Tom Kuhnhackl scored a power-play goal with 40 seconds left to give the Baby Pens a 3-2 win over Worcester and defenseman Brendan Mikkelson scored 22 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 win over Manchester.

Seven up

First-round defenseman Derrick Pouliot is off to a typically prolific start for the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks.

He had 13 points in his first eight games, including two assists and a plus-7 rating in an 8-1 win over Tri-City on Oct. 19.

Red, white and blue

Upper St. Clair native Dylan Reese will play for Team USA in the Deutschland Cup from Nov. 8-10 in Munich, Germany.

It's not exactly the Olympics, but it's a fairly prestigious four-team international tournament that's been around since 1987. Team USA, which also includes former Penguins Chris Bourque and Noah Welch, is made up of Americans playing abroad. Reese is with Khabarovsk Amur in Russia's KHL this season.

Jonathan Bombulie has covered the Baby Pens for the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre since the team's inception in 1999. He can be reached via email at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.