St. John’s IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray skated in practice Wednesday, but according to IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge remains day-to-day with an unspecified injury as St. John’s gets ready for the for the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference final against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, beginning with games Saturday and Sunday nights at Mile One Centre.
Jaffray led the IceCaps in regular-season scoring (18-41-59), playing in all 76 games, and had six points in St. John’s first nine playoff contests. However, he sat out last Friday’s conference semifinal-clinching win over the Norfolk Admirals despite taking the pre-game warm-up skate.
Jaffray is one of two members of the IcCaps to have played with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Fellow forward Ryan Schnell, who has yet to see any action this post-season, is the other.
Neither had long tenures in Wilkes-Barre, Jaffray appeared in five games with the AHL Penguins in 2003-04, while Schnell dressed for 23 contests with the team over two seasons (2010-11, 2011-12).
Jaffray was on the IceCaps’ bench when St. John’s took on the AHL Pens in a conference semifinal in 2012, a series won by St. John’s in seven game. However, Jaffray didn’t play in any of the games, having suffered a season-ending neck injury in March. After surgery, he returned to the IceCaps for their second-round series against Wilkes-Barre and worked as a temporary assistant coach.
Then again, there weren’t a lot of present-day IceCaps who played in that series versus the Penguins two years ago.
Only three players on the current roster — John Albert, Patrice Cormier and Zach Redmond — dressed for St. John’s in its 3-2, Game 7 victory over the Penguins at Mile On, although a number of present St. John’s players were on the roster back then.
Eric O’Dell (three games) and Carl Klingberg (12 games) did see action during that post-season, while defencemen Ben Chiarot, Julian Melchiori and Will O’Neill were part of the black aces in practice. As well, Jason King, now an IceCaps’ assistant coach, skated in all 15 of St. John’s playoff games that seasons.
Of the present-day Penguins, only forwards Brian Gibbons and Zach Sill and defencemen Simon Despres and Philip Samuelsson saw action in the 2012 series against St. John’s, although Reid McNeil, Adam Payerl and Dominik Uher, now Wilkes-Barre regulars, were on the team’s playoff roster.
So, by the way, was Schnell.
A unique player connection between the two series comes courtesy of Spencer Machacek, who played for the IceCaps in the 2012 series and now is a member of the Penguins.