Baby Penguins Banter: 2011 AHL All-Star Game Preview
The annual AHL All-Star Game will take place from Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., home of the Hershey Bears. Six Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins players and coaches were selected to attend, but only four will actually be present.
Here is a look at your 2011 Baby Penguins All Stars.
Robert Bortuzzo: Defenseman
Bortuzzo is in his second professional season and has already improved his point totals from his rookie year.
In 2009-10, he had 12 points and a plus-13 rating. Through 46 games this season, he has 18 points and a plus-17 rating. His plus/minus rating is tied with Corey Potter and Carl Sneep for the team lead and is ranked fifth in the AHL.
John Curry: Goaltender
Curry is in his fourth season in Wilkes-Barre and is playing in his first All-Star Game.
He only needs three more wins to get his 100th as a Penguin. He currently has a record of 17-7 with a 2.54 GAA and .903 save percentage. That is a marked improvement from his 2009-10 season, when he struggled with a record of 23-19-2 with a .891 save percentage and 2.87 GAA.
Curry’s 17 wins have put him in second among AHL goaltenders.
John Hynes: Head Coach
Hynes is in his second year with the Penguins organization and his first as a head coach. Last year, he served as assistant to Todd Reirden.
In his first year as bench boss, Hynes has led the Penguins to a record of 35-11 for 70 points, the best record in the AHL. The Penguins are also the only team in the AHL who do not have any overtime and shootout losses.
Hynes will be coaching the Western Conference All-Stars, so he will be coaching against his players, who will be representing the Eastern Conference.
Eric Tangradi: Left Wing
Tangradi is in his second professional season and is fourth on the Penguins with 29 points this year. He has 17 goals and is tied for the team goal-scoring lead with Dustin Jeffrey and Brett Sterling. He is tied for seventh in the AHL in goals scored.
He is already close to improving his totals from his rookie year in 2009-10, when he had 39 points.
Tangradi posted his first professional hat trick in a December matchup against the Toronto Marlies. He played nine games in Pittsburgh to start the season and had two points and six penalty minutes.
Jeffrey, Thiessen Out
The AHL recently announced that Jeffrey and Brad Thiessen, the only two Penguins on the original All-Star rosters, will miss the event.
Thiessen will miss the All-Star Game due to a leg injury. He is currently first in the AHL in wins and has a record of 18-4 with a .916 save percentage and 2.15 GAA. He was named the Eastern Conference starting goaltender.
Jeffrey, who recently returned from Pittsburgh on a call up, will miss the game due to a death in the family. He leads the Penguins with 43 points this year.
Pechurskiy Signed to PTO
In other Baby Penguins news, the organization signed goaltender Alexander Pechurskiy to a PTO earlier in the week.
Pechurskiy made a name for himself last year when he relieved John Curry in a Pittsburgh Penguins matchup with the Vancouver Canucks. He only allowed one goal and was given third star of the game honors.
He has spent his 2010-11 season with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL and the Mississippi RiverKings of the CHL. Between his two teams, he has a record of 12-8 in 24 games and has averaged a 3.12 GAA and .879 save percentage.
Pechurskiy reported to the AHL Penguins for Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Checkers and is wearing No. 33.
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