Penguins’ Joseph Out With Mono; Bjorkqvist Evaluated For Injury
WILKES-BARRE — The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins entered the week with momentum from a two-game win streak.
If they want to keep it, they’ll have to do so with a reshuffled lineup.
With the Penguins preparing for tonight’s road clash against the Binghamton Devils, head coach Mike Vellucci said Tuesday that defenseman Pierre-Oliver Joseph will miss an extended amount of time after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Additionally, rookie forward Kasper Bjorkqvist is being evaluated for an undisclosed injury.
As a result, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton recalled forward Brandon Hawkins and defenseman Macoy Erkamps from Wheeling on Tuesday.
Hawkins, who had two goals in five games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, was paired with Ryan Scarfo and Chase Berger at Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota SportsPlex.
Defensively, Michael Kim was listed among the top six with Jon Lizotte as his partner.
Bjorkqvist had developed chemistry on the team’s fourth line with Berger and Sam Miletic, but Hawkins should be able to slot in nicely. He was averaging a point per game with the Nailers and has shown improvement even from AHL training camp a few weeks ago.
“I talk to (Wheeling head coach Mike) Bavis every day, and we discuss who’s playing well,” Vellucci said. “When you communicate every day, you understand who’s playing well and who deserves the opportunity. The best way to do it is who deserves it, and he’s worked hard and had a great practice today. He showed a lot more speed, and that’s something he had to work on. Looks like he paid attention.”
The Penguins also received veteran defenseman Zach Trotman from Pittsburgh on Monday on a conditioning assignment. The 29-year-old is recovering from sports hernia surgery underwent in late September.
Erkamps came to the Penguins in a trade last December and appeared in 24 games with the team in 2018-19.
Vellucci also said forward Thomas Di Pauli, who has missed the past two games, is not expected to play tonight. The team doesn’t want to rush him and is hopeful he will be ready for a weekend doubleheader against the San Antonio Rampage.
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Opponent: Binghamton Devils
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena
Season series: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won the only previous meeting, 5-3, on Oct. 16 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Online: The game will be broadcast through the AHL TV streaming service. Follow staff writer Tyler Piccotti on Twitter (@CVPiccotti) for updates during the contest.
About the Devils: Binghamton enters the game with four straight losses, two of them coming in overtime. Offensively, the team is led by Brett Seney’s three goals and four assists. Binghamton is basically middle of the pack on both special teams thus far, ranking 16th on the power play and 20th on the penalty kill. The Devils have never beaten the Penguins, going 0-11 against them in the past three seasons.