- Read my final recap of a AHL game in the 2012-13 season here: pppshow.net/2013/06/18/its… thanks to @PPPSHOW for the opportunity to be of service 10 hours ago
- Man. The emotion from Kaser right now. I am misting up just listening to him. 11 hours ago
- Kaser going through the replays and you can hear his voice breaking, 30 minutes after reality setting in. Then in the goal call. 11 hours ago
- Tom Grace said the longer it takes the sweeter it will be. The tone of Griffins PBP Bob Kaser's voice right now just proves that point. 11 hours ago
- Hershey fan did this. The rivalry runs deep. RT @Ahlhockeyfan: @nafsnep http://t.co/wxnWe9r3MY 12 hours ago
- Our day is coming. RT @WBSPenguins: Congratulations to the @griffinshockey 2013 Calder Cup Champions. 12 hours ago
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
June 15, 2013Posted by on
We interrupt the severe lack of blogging to bring some news which has broke since this past Thursday:
– There’s a new team in town. They are the Utica Comets, a Vancouver Canucks affiliate. Read all about it here, and check out the logo and jerseys here. One thing that was not announced was in what conference / division the Comets will play. Although you can probably bet on the Penguins facing them a few times this upcoming season.
– The Bears have re-signed Jeff Taffe. Taffe had an arrangement to play in Sweden next season but decided to come back to play another year in Chocolatetown. Taffe and his wife had twins last October, so the culture shock of taking newborn children overseas with you to play hockey probably weighed heavily in Taffe’s decision to return to Hershey for another season. Can’t say as though I blame him.
– The Syracuse Crunch are still alive after winning last night 3-2 in Game 4. Here are my words for Bob Howard’s blog. I would be lying if I told you I expected a sweep in the series. Game 5 is Saturday night in Western Michigan.
I’m off to go jump in my pool. To pay tribute to the newest AHL team, I may do a few
cannonballs uh, cometballs.
June 13, 2013Posted by on
Haven’t blogged in a while. But I have been busy! Thursday is our offseason blog day, so here goes…
I have been keeping my fingers spry and have freelanced for Bob Howard and the Power Play Post Show’s website during these Calder Cup Finals. In case you haven’t heard who is leading the series, please click here for the Game 1 recap, here for the Game 2 recap and here for the Game 3 recap.
Have you read them all? Hope so, because I don’t want to ruin the rest of the entry for you.
Grand Rapids can put it away Friday night. They seriously don’t make mistakes. Syracuse is good. Really good. But they look lost vs. a Griffins team that just runs them around and finally out for the past three games.
Nothing much doing on Coal Street, although congrats to Teddy Richards for his recent promotion to Pittsburgh.
The parent club extended Dan Bylsma and crew for two more years. With the Penguins getting swept and only scoring two goals in the series, debate amongst yourselves on whether this was a good move or not.
Big day for the Vancouver Canucks as their AHL franchise was apparently approved by the AHL Board of Governors today from reports all over the Twittersphere this afternoon. They will set up shop in Utica, NY next season and ensure another season of 30 AHL teams for 30 NHL teams.
Unless news breaks between now and next Thursday, expect the next blog update then.
June 6, 2013Posted by on
There isn’t really much to write about after the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins season ended last Saturday. The exit interviews are over, the team has disbanded and are headed home.
So here I sit, twiddling my thumbs and watching the world go by.
There’s a couple of topics that happened since the last time I blogged. If you already knew about these, I’m sorry. I’ll try to keep up the blog regularly as the content allows. At least once a week, why not Thursday’s?
– On the other side of the goal post, Mike O’Brien caught up with Brad Thiessen in this podcast.
– Mark French, late of the Hershey Bears, is off to Russia to coach another kind of Bears.
– Syracuse gets Grand Rapids in the Calder Cup Finals, which start Saturday in Central New York.
– Speaking of, you can watch the Calder Cup Finals for FREE on AHLLive.com using the promo code “CALDER2013″
– Finally, I don’t know if you have noticed, but the 2013 Offseason Moves tab is up and active at the top of the page. I plan on keeping this updated as the summer wears on. If you spot any errors or omission, please let me know in some form of social media.
See you next Thursday?
June 3, 2013Posted by on
The tombstone on the 2012-13 season of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will read from October 13, 2012 to June 1, 2013.
From the first game in Binghamton that cold Saturday night to the last game about 70 miles north in Syracuse, NY on a much warmer June day, the Penguins fourteenth season in the American Hockey League was a success.
The month of October started with a four game losing streak to the Binghamton Senators, the Springfield Falcons, the Brigdeport Sound Tigers and the Syracuse Crunch. It wasn’t until 4:46 of overtime on a Friday night in Wilkes-Barre vs. the Rochester Americans that Paul Thompson got the Penguins off the goose egg and into the win column.
I’ll remember that win especially, as it was the first time I worked press row as part of the Penguins “Social Media Night.”
The Pens would close out October with a win the very next night in Syracuse then a loss Sunday afternoon in Hershey where the new replay system installed by the AHL by all the member clubs would bite the Penguins on a call they wanted reviewed and a call that was reviewed that was taken away.
November was a gangbuster month for the Penguins.
It started in New Hampshire when Jeff Zatkoff shut out his old club the Manchester Monarchs 3-0, followed by a Paul Thompson natural hat trick on a Sunday afternoon in Bridgeport. A 1-0 shootout win at home vs. the Binghamton Senators made it three in a row. Then the Bears came calling and dismantled what was at the time, the best penalty killing unit in the AHL by scoring three power play goals and winning 3-1.
How did the Penguins respond?
By winning seven of eight games to close out the month.
In there was work done by yours truly for Chris Roy and the Maine Hockey Journal, a 4-3 Penguin shootout win vs. the Portland Pirates and probably the highlight of the season for me, pinch hitting for the Great Jonathan Bombulie from the Citizens Voice, actually seeing my name in the paper writing the game story, a 4-1 Bears win.
Then came the month of December. Which was, by all rights as the song goes, a Long December.
After a 5-3 win vs. the St. John’s IceCaps and Jeff Zatkoff being named the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins would go on to lose six straight games. More work for Chris Roy from the Maine Hockey Journal in a 4-3 shootout loss to Portland, a clunker vs. Albany and an implosion on the Southern Tier.
Finally, John Hynes becomes the winningest coach in Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins history after a 3-2 win on a Saturday night in Syracuse.
The St. John’s win and the history making one up in Syracuse would be all the Pens would write home about in this month, going 2-8-2 to close out 2013.
January saw the NHL Lockout end and the AHL careers of Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Brian Strait and Eric Tangradi come to a conclusion.
The Month of January had everything, really. A bad loss to a 6’8 goaltender in Hartford, Conn. The NHL Lockout ending, Brian Strait later getting claimed off of waivers by the New York Islanders. The Outdoor Classic win at Hersheypark Stadium. The return of Tom Kostopoulous, the farewell to Benn Ferriero and the introduction to Chad Kolarik. The Mark Eaton Experiment. Some more press row work for Michael Cignoli from The Saratogian, culminating with the AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, RI and yours truly back in the papers, this time for Tom Venesky from the Times Leader.
February saw the Pens shake whatever funk was surrounding them and win nine of their thirteen contests. We saw the return of Chris Collins, the departure of Mark Eaton, me on press row for the final time for Cignoli, the eighteenth Captain in Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins history and this very blog being named PA Live!’s “Blog of the Week.”
Still fumbling towards the bottom of the East Division, the month of March saw Tom Kostopoulos claimed by the New Jersey Devils on waivers and Joe Morrow traded to Dallas for Brenden Morrow. A so-so month for the Pens, winning seven of thirteen.Two gritty wins in Portland and Manchester. An inert AHL trade deadline. My two part AHL bloggers summit which today, going back and reading it, was pretty spot on by all panel members. By the end of the month, the Pens had slowly glided to the middle portion of the East Division and the Conference.
April saw the permanent graduation of Beau Bennett, the arrival of Derek Nesbitt and the Pens cement their status in the Calder Cup Playoffs by winning six straight games and making it eleven straight seasons that Wilkes-Barre has made it to the postseason.
Then the fun began.
A three game sweep of the Binghamton Senators in Round One, will all three games being decided by a score of 3-2.
A history making comeback vs. the Providence Bruins and what was likely the death knell for Wilkes-Barre, as no team had ever come back to win four straight games down 0-3 in a series and win the seventh one on the road.
That comeback took all the air out of the sails for the Pens. They’d ride the wave of emotion to a Game 1 win vs. the Syracuse Crunch in the Eastern Conference Finals but could advance no further, losing in five games.
The hopes of a Calder Cup live on in the minds of the Wilkes-Barre faithful, and so begins another offseason on Coal Street. One that will see guys leave for other teams via free agency. We will see new faces in the Fall and got a glimpse in the final three games vs. the Crunch with the debuts of Scott Harrington, Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot. We will see some big names likely beating the door down to play for the Pens in Wilkes-Barre, what with premier practice facilities, a devoted and dedicated fan base and the prosperity of postseason appearances, hungry yet again to make it twelve straight years in their quindecennial year.
The best is yet to come.
Let’s Go Pens!!!
June 1, 2013Posted by on
The well has run dry.
The tank is on empty.
The sun has gone down.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins bow out of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs 7-0 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Philippe Paradis had a hat trick, and that was all she wrote on this one.
Head Coach John Hynes put Jeff Zatkoff in net trying to change up the luck for the Penguins. Derrick Pouliot made his debut on the blue line for the Pens, taking the place of Peter Merth. Derek Nesbitt and Bobby Farnham were in for Christiaan Minella and Chris Collins.
I don’t really know what to recap here. The game was close for a good portion of the first period. But then a failed clear by the Penguins, something that has dogged them all season long, cost them again. Vlad Namestnikov bats in a shot to make it 1-0 Crunch.
Then Dan Sexton beats out a Penguin for an icing call. Off the face off, Radko Gudas scores to make it 2-0 Crunch. None of what you read in this paragraph happens if the icing is touched up.
It may have not mattered, because we Philippe Paradis had yet to have his fun.
Paradis wheels around the net in the second period and stuffs one home to make it 3-0 Crunch. The Pens giveaway a puck trying to clear and its 4-0 Syracuse.
Later, a puck hits Warren Peters as the Pens try to exit and Ondrej Palat scores to make it 5-0 Crunch.
At this point, after 40 minutes. The tank was spent. The Pens were running on fumes.
That Paradis guy that I mentioned earlier? Hasn’t had his fun yet.
Brian Dumoulin blows a tire. Paradis flies in and score to make it 6-0 Crunch. He caps off his hat trick to make it 7-0.
Syracuse coasts the rest of the way. The Penguins don’t score. The only player I gave an “F” to in my quarterly grades would end up scoring the final WBS Penguins goal of the season. If you don’t know, now you know.
So that’s it.
Tom Grace had a quote postgame which is appropriate:
“The longer it takes, the sweeter it will taste”
It took the City of Syracuse nineteen seasons to play a meaningful hockey game in June.
Wilkes-Barre expects to play in June season after season.
Moral is, the time is coming.
It ain’t today. It ain’t tomorrow. Hell, it may not be for another five years.
But it’s coming. That I am sure of.
Hope that you will keep checking out the blog this summer for the latest on what is to come for 2013-14. I will try to keep things fresh here on the blog with content and will have the 2013 Offseason Moves tab up soon.
Let’s Go Pens!!!