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The Palm Tree: An update on hockey players with local connections.

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On Team Trib we like to think that hockey coverage is not just about the Penguins, though certainly that is our priority. Still, hockey is hot througout out region. Has been for a while now, actually. Mike Palm, a valued member of our hockey team (remember last season’s 1991 Cup Chronicles?), has offered to keep tabs on notable players with local ties. The first of his must-read submissions:

= Defenseman Matt Bartkowski (Mt. Lebanon)

Current team: Providence (AHL)

Draft: Seventh round (190th) in 2008 by Florida.

What he’s up to: In 23 games, he has 7 assists, 28 PIM and is minus-11.

= Goaltender John Gibson (Whitehall)

Current team: Kitchener (OHL)

Draft: Second round (39th) in 2011 by Anaheim.

What he’s up to: In 21 games, he’s recorded a 14-6-0 record with a

2.52 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.  On Monday, he was named to the preliminary roster for the 2012 U.S. national junior team.

= Defenseman Nate Guenin (Hopewell)

Current team: Anaheim (NHL)

Draft: Fourth round (127th) in 2002 by N.Y. Rangers.

What he’s up to: In 9 games, he has 1 goal and 6 PIM and averages 9:35 of ice time.

= Center Christian Hanson (Peters Township)

Current team: Hershey (AHL)

Draft: Undrafted.

What he’s up to: In 26 games, he has 3 goals, 7 assists and 23 PIM.

= Defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum)

Current team: Notre Dame (NCAA)

Draft: Second round (60th) in 2010 by Chicago.

What he’s up to: In 20 games, he has 2 goals, 4 assists, 59 PIM and 16 blocked shots. On Monday, he was named to the preliminary roster for the 2012 U.S. national junior team.

= Defenseman Grant Lewis (Upper St. Clair)

Current team: HC Poprad Lev (KHL)

Draft: Second round (40th) in 2004 by Atlanta.

What he’s up to: In 27 games, he has 1 goal, 4 assists and 24 PIM and averages 17:33 of ice time.

= Left wing Ryan Malone (Upper St. Clair)

Current team: Tampa Bay (NHL)

Draft: Fourth round (115th) in 1999 by Pittsburgh.

What he’s up to now: In 25 games, he has 6 goals, 8 assists and 15 PIM and averages 15:54 of ice time.

= Center J.T. Miller (Coraopolis)

Current team: Plymouth (OHL)

Draft: First round (15th) in 2011 by N.Y. Rangers.

What he’s up to: In 31 games, he has 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points to rank 13th in OHL scoring, along with 20 PIM.  On Monday, he was named to the preliminary roster for the 2012 U.S. national junior team.

= Right wing George Parros (Scenery Hill)

Current team: Anaheim (NHL)

Draft: Eighth round (222nd) in 1999 by Los Angeles.

What he’s up to: After taking a month to recover from surgery to repair a torn retina, he returned Tuesday. In 14 games, he has 1 assist and 26 PIM, including a fight in his third game back.

= Defenseman Dylan Reese (Upper St. Clair) Current team: N.Y. Islanders (NHL)

Draft: Seventh round (209th) in 2003 by N.Y. Rangers.

What he’s up to: Scored 3rd career goal Saturday after an emergency recall on Thursday. In five games with the Islanders, he has 1 goal, 1 assist and averages 17:00 of ice time. In 21 games with Bridgeport (AHL), Reese has 2 goals and 10 assists

= Left wing Brandon Saad (Gibsonia)

Current team: Saginaw (OHL)

Draft: Second round (42nd) in 2011 by Chicago.

What he’s up to: In 13 games, he has 10 goals, 12 assists and 6 PIM.  

On Monday, he was named to the preliminary roster for the 2012 U.S.  national junior team.

= Right wing Bill Thomas (Fox Chapel)

Current team: San Antonio (AHL)

Draft: Undrafted

What he’s up to: In 23 games, he has 6 goals, 7 assists and 10 PIM for the fourth-place Rampage.

= Center Vince Trocheck (Upper St. Clair)

Current team: Saginaw (OHL)

Draft: Third round (64th) in 2011 by Florida.

What he’s up to: In 30 games, he has 15 goals and 24 assists to rank 12th in OHL scoring, along with 37 PIM.

= Left wing R.J. Umberger (Plum)

Current team: Columbus (NHL)

Draft: First round (16th) in 2001 by Vancouver.

What he’s up to: In 29 games, he has 5 goals, 5 assists and 10 PIM and averages 18:29 of ice time.

= Defenseman Mike Weber (Cranberry)

Current team: Buffalo (NHL)

Draft: Second round (57th) by Buffalo.

What he’s up to: On injured reserve since Nov. 17 with an upper body injury.

= Right wing John Zeiler (Thomas Jefferson)

Current team: Augsburger Panther (German Ice Hockey League)

Draft: Fifth round (132nd) in 2002 by Phoenix.

What he’s up to: In 26 games, he has 2 goals, 14 assists and 42 PIM.

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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