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A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
East Division Preview
October 12, 2012Posted by on
Welcome to the final day of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews and for some fans in some markets, Opening Night of the AHL Season! You can get caught up on the South, Midwest, North, Atlantic and Northeast Divisions via the handy drop down menu I have added to the top of the blog.
Ahh, yes. The East Division. Where the big boys play. The past four Calder Cup Champions have come out of this division.
Two affiliation swaps to note. The Tampa Bay Lightning leave the Norfolk Admirals for the Syracuse Crunch and the Anaheim Ducks, Syracuse’s parent club last year, land with Norfolk.
Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators)
Last Year: 29-40-5-2 (65 pts., 5th place East Division)
Playoffs: Did not qualify.
Head Coach: Luke Richardson
Arena: Broome County Memorial Veterans Arena
Offseason Moves: André Benoit, Hugh Jessiman, Tyler Eckford, Nathan Lawson, Marc Chevrie
Lockout Additions: Jared Cowen, Stephané Da Costa, Ben Bishop
The case for: Continuing to pound the drum of “young team with a lot to prove” the B-Sens dance to the beat of this tune. Whether they are still dancing when the party is over is the question. What I have read from out of Binghamton is that Coach Richardson is going to get this team to rebound from its overall last place showing from last year.
The case against: That all sounds nice, but in this division, probably may not be enough.
Broadcaster: Grady Whittenburg (twitter)
vs. WBS: @ 10/13, 11/7, 12/14, @ 12/19, @ 1/4, 1/9, 2/12, @ 2/16, 3/27, @ 3/30
Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
Last Year: 38-26-4-8 (88 pts., 3rd place East Division)
Playoffs: 5 seed – lost in 5 games to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Co-Coaches: Mark French and Adam Oates
Arena: GIANT Center
Offseason Moves: Jeff Taffe, Jon DiSalvatore, Steven Oleksy, Alex Berry, Mathieu Beaudoin, Zach Hamill, Garret Stafford, Jon Kalinski
Lockout Additions: Braden Holtby, Dmitri Orlov
The case for: Bears reload for another season and will have a different cast of characters looking to get Hershey its 12th league title. DiSalvatore and Taffe are legitimate AHL snipers coming over from the Western Conference.
The case against: While the Bears replaced their offense, it doesn’t look like it upgraded its defense. Since winning the Calder Cup three years ago, the Bears have progressively given up more goals each season. If this team has a weak link, it is defense.
Facebook: Hershey Bears
Broadcaster: Scott Stuccio (twitter)
vs. WBS: @ 10/28, 11/9, @ 11/17, @ 11/21, 12/7, @ 12/26, 12/27, 1/11, @ 1/20*, @ 2/3, 3/1, 4/7
* – game played at Hersheypark Stadium as part of the 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic
Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim Ducks)
Last Year: 55-18-1-2 (113 pts., 1st place East Division)
Playoffs: 1 seed – won Calder Cup sweeping the Toronto Marlies
Head Coach: Trent Yawney
Arena: Scope Arena
ECHL Affiliation: Fort Wayne Komets
Lockout Additions: Brandon McMillan, Devante Smith-Pelly, Luca Caputi
The case for: The defending champions inherit a brand new team which was last years Syracuse team. That team was trending upwards towards the end of last season and I expect that trend to continue.
The case against: While trending upward, it came with some valleys and some nights you never knew what Crunch team you were getting that night. If that continues, this team may not make playoffs.
Media coverage: Virginia Pilot
Broadcaster: Pete Michaud (twitter)
vs. WBS: 12/29, @ 1/15, @ 2/8, @ 2/9, 2/15, 2/27, 3/23, @ 4/2
Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Last Year: 37-29-5-5 (84 pts., 4th place East Division)
Playoffs: 7 seed – lost in four games to the St. John’s IceCaps.
Head Coach: Jon Cooper
Arena: Onadonga War Memorial
Offseason Moves: Riku Helenius, Jared Nightengale
Lockout Additions: Brett Connolly, Matt Taormina
The case for: Last years Norfolk team which won the Calder Cup has returned much of its core. Fans in Syracuse are hoping that this new crop of faces repeats itself.
The case against: Tampa Bay hasn’t had the best track record for AHL clubs so therefore you can surmise that last years championship was an anomaly.
Broadcaster: Dan D’Uva (twitter)
vs. WBS: 10/21, @10/27, 11/30, @12/15, @ 12/22, 12/31, 2/17, @3/20
Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Last Year: 44-25-2-5 (95 pts., 2nd place East Division)
Playoffs: 4 seed – lost in seven games to the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Head Coach: John Hynes
Arena: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Offseason Moves: Jeff Zatkoff, Dylan Reese, Riley Holzapfel, Warren Peters, Trevor Smith, Philippe Dupuis, Benn Ferriero
Lockout Additions: Eric Tangradi, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait
The case for: What the Penguins lost in defections they upgraded in signings. This team is built to win and it will, often. Can easily run away with the division if everyone does their job.
The case against: While appearing to master regular season success, the Penguins haven’t figured out postseason winning quite yet.
Had great fun curating these capsules the past month or so. Tomorrow the season begins for the Penguins in Binghamton against the Senators. The Gameday Preview returns Saturday at 3 p.m.
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