With the Penguins set for what could be the biggest game of the season tonight in Ottawa, let’s take a minute to reflect on something really important … like Bobby Farnham.
I was in Wilkes-Barre over the weekend, talked to the Pittsburgh Urban Legend and thought I would share some of that conversation here.
Following the Baby Penguins’ 3-0 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, I asked Farnham whether he was aware of how beloved he has become here.
“I heard a little bit but not really,” Farnham said, clearly trying to downplay the whole thing and stay modest.
Why, I asked, do you think people have become such fans?
“I don’t know,” Farnham said, clearly wanting to stay modest. “Maybe a unique style I guess you play. Hard. Fast. Physical. In your face. I guess the Pittsburgh fans like that style of play.”
Yeah, little bit.
To the point of clamoring for Farnham about every 5 seconds on Twitter.
“I saw a little bit of that,” Farnham said, alluding to his own hashtag of #freefarnham. “I’m saw some of it and a couple tweets. That was funny.”
Seriously, though. A front-office source told me in March that the Penguins were severely unhappy with the play of their fourth line, especially Craig Adams and Beau Bennett.
So much so that they might look to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for an infusion of talent come playoff time. Farnham may be among that group. Why not, right?
“If you’re up there, down here, you just try to play your game, play the same exact way you would no matter what,” Farnham said. “If an opportunity arises, you have to be ready to take advantage of it. If that happens, that’s great. If not, just play the same way.”
I asked Farnham what he remembered most about his 11-game NHL cameo this season.
He nearly had a chance to answer, too, before a group of adoring fans busted up our little chat. After Farnham was, of course, unbelievably nice to them, here’s what he came up with.
“Just an unbelievable experience overall,” Farnham said. “First game, the adrenaline. I don’t think I slept before that first game. Then to be able to play 11 games up there, just get the experience hopefully for the future, was everything I thought it would be and more.”
Farnham isn’t the only one I caught up with.
=Scott Wilson scored twice on Saturday and has impressed management since missing six weeks with a broken leg.
Wilson, you might remember, was a surprise recall when Chris Kunitz couldn’t go because of a foot fracture. He left practice that day in Wilkes-Barre early, drove across the state, then played a little more than four minutes before getting hurt.
Wilson is third on the Baby Penguins with 18 goals. His 40 points are tied for third.
“With that six weeks I had, I really tried to not go through the motions and get my knee better; I really tried to watch the hockey games and turn my game the way I wanted to, even though it was kind of a tough bounce in my first game there,” Wilson said. “When I came back, I tried to take pride in my details and play well defensively. I’m just trying to round out my game now.”
=Caught up with Jayson Megna and asked him about the frustration of taking four minor penalties in a game, then getting sent down.
Megna has bounced back well. Has 21-13–34 on the season and has shown plenty of speed. Management wants him to add some toughness and physicality to his game, which he’s working on.
“I wasn’t actually supposed to play that night,” Megna explained. “I got a call around lunchtime. They told me I was going in. I was all excited. I was ready to go.
“A couple unfortunate … one of the ones was a high-stick in the offensive zone when I fell down. That was tough. I obviously wasn’t very happy about my performance. The team ended up winning the game, but afterward they they told me I was going back to Wilkes-Barre. That was kind of disappointing. Everything happens for a reason. I just want to control what I can control and continue to work on my game.”
=Kris Letang could ride a bike this week. Christian Ehrhoff is skating on his own. Neither are locks to begin the playoffs with the big club — if the big club gets there. Several members of the Penguins front office watched games Friday and Saturday, and part of that was to check out the team’s top defensive prospects, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin.
If the Penguins are short a defenseman or two for the playoffs, one or the other could be recalled. Dumoulin scored on a blast from the slot and looked outstanding. I caught up with him afterward, asking him about the rough game he had at Madison Square Garden and where his game’s at right now.
“After that game there were some things that happened,” Dumoulin said. “I was able to play. They put me right back in against Tampa Bay, which was awesome. That’s when I scored my first goal. They’ve been real positive with me, which has been good.”
Be GRATEFUL to each other,