By Tom Venesky
The Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE TWP., Pa. – Reid Cashman’s toes on his left foot are painted black with bruises, but he doesn’t mind.
The bruises are one of the signs that Cashman, who was recalled from Wheeling on Wednesday for his third stint with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season, has returned to the AHL a different player. He is more confident, more comfortable and knows his role.
So how do the bruises signify all that?
The answer lies in the manner they occurred.
With the Penguins down 1-0 in the second period Wednesday against the Binghamton Senators, Cashman and his teammates skated back to defend a rush into their end. As the puck carrier skated toward Cashman, he quickly waved to his teammates to cover the other forwards before promptly sliding onto the ice to block a shot – with his toes.
The Penguins immediately pounced on the loose puck and took the play back up the ice after Cashman squelched the scoring threat. They went on to win the game, 3-1, and the play confirmed that Cashman, in his first game back from Wheeling, now had the confidence to take charge on the ice along with the ability that the Penguins knew was there all along.
“Communicating and being vocal are important, especially for a younger guy. The veterans expect the defense to call out the backcheck. If I wasn’t vocal I think I’d find myself back in the stands,” Cashman said.