Hi, everyone!

I admit it’s been way too long since I’ve checked in here on the blogosphere. So, with everyone getting started on their resolutions for 2018, I promise I’ll do a better job of keeping you abreast here at Penguins Insider.

Anyway, it was a solid practice at the SportsPlex on Tuesday, with some 3-on-2 puckhandling drills, scrimmaging and breakaway attempts all thrown in.

Head coach Clark Donatelli said he was encouraged entering tomorrow’s game against Bridgeport, which all of a sudden appears to be very important. The Sound Tigers are only four points behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and he said the team has an eye on the standings as the calendar turns to the new year. I’d expect the Penguins to keep up their solid full-game efforts from last weekend with another.

They’ll need one if Bridgeport puts Chris Gibson in net; he’s been lights-out his last three starts with 62 saves on 64 shots.

Christian Thomas is back from Switzerland; you’ll read more about that in Wednesday’s paper. In semi-related news, former Penguins Chad Kolarik and Noah Welch are headed to Pyeongchang. Congrats to them.

Daniel Sprong was also named the AHL Rookie of the Month on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how both him and Dominik Simon will slot into the Pittsburgh picture.

Additionally, the All-Star Challenge coaches were named with former Penguin Jay Leach among them. The ages of the four are 38 (Leach), 37 (Sheldon Keefe), 38 (Mike Van Ryn) and 46 (Pascal Vincent), which is just further illustration of the league trend I wrote about in this J.D. Forrest profile.

Finally, and it’s unrelated to the AHL, but a shoutout to the Vegas Golden Knights. I’m not ready to pencil them into the Cup Finals, but it’s time to take this team seriously as a playoff contender.

I’m working on some midseason content for the next week or so, such as top moments from the first half, so keep an eye out for that. If you have any feedback on what to include, I’m all ears.

Glad to be back; have fun if you’re heading to Mohegan Sun Arena tomorrow.