Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Preseason Dates Announced

This afternoon, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins announced their preseason schedule. If you don’t want to link off to the press release, the dates and opponents are as follows:

— Wednesday October 1 vs. Utica at 7:05
— Saturday, October 4 vs. Hershey at 7:05
— Sunday, October 5 at Hershey at 5:05

Not much else out there. The Pens announced the re-signings of Barry Goers and Carter Rowney last week. That’s pretty much been it.

Fast Friday News

Just a couple things to touch on as we head into the weekend….

– Simon Despres signed his qualifying offer. It’s a two year deal. He’ll get a chance to shine in Pittsburgh under the new regime.

– Ex-Penguin Mark Recchi replaces Billy Guerin as Penguins Development Coach.

– Mike O’Brien is in Pittsburgh at Development Camp and checked in with this entry on development camp. He’s also got Part Two of the Summer Catch-Up Series with Nick Drazenovic.

I’ve updated the 2014 Offseason Moves List to reflect the Despres signing, the last of the Restricted Free Agents to sign.

That’s it. Now go out and enjoy the weekend!

Cleanup in Aisle Tuesday

Very minor things to catch up on since the last time we did this…

– Penguins Developmental Camp is underway from Pittsburgh. Link here with information as to who was invited. Names familiar to fans of the AHL club include Nick D’Agostino, Brian Dumoulin, Reid McNeill, Scott Harrington, Harrison Ruopp, Josh Archibald, Tom Kuhnhackl, Conor Sheary, Dominik Uher and Anton Zlobin to name a bunch. They all scrimmage on Saturday.

– The Norfolk Admirals have a new Head Coach. His name is Jarrod Skalde.

– Coal Street produced a summer podcast series. Their first installment was Mike O’Brien speaking with Conor Sheary. A good listen.

– No labor strife on the horizon for the AHL and their players union, as it appears as if the Collective Bargaining Agreement was extended for another year.

– Stephane Da Costa is taking is talents to Moscow of the KHL next season. Da Costa had been with Binghamton last season.

– Ex Penguin and current Calder Cup Champion player Toby Petersen was named Assistant Coach of the Springfield Falcons.

– Depth signings to announce. Alex Boak and Clark Seymour, both giant defenders which were around late last season during Wilkes-Barre’s run. I project they start the season in Wheeling next season and are the first call-up to fill a bottom six role on defense, should the need arise. Both Boak and Seymour are in Pittsburgh this week for Developmental Camp.

Bobby Farnham also re-signed. I’ve updated the 2014 Offseason Moves List to reflect the re-signing of Farnham, and the additions of Boak and Seymour.

That’s all for now.

Thursday Notebook: Megna, Samuelsson Re-Sign / AHL Rule Changes

Two re-signings by Pittsburgh. Jayson Megna and Philip Samuelsson were both signed to one year, two-way deals Thursday. Both don’t need waivers to get back to Wilkes-Barre should the need for a reassignment, so it’s plus for the AHL club today.

I’ve updated the 2014 Offseason Moves List appropriately.

Other news in the East Division: Derek Grant re-signed with Ottawa. Tampa Bay signed Jerome Samson, but remember now that Syracuse is out of the Division now so it doesn’t really matter anymore. (Sorry, Alex!)

The other piece of huge news announced by the AHL today were rules changes. Link here, but here they are on your screen without having to jump through…

Rule 85 (“Overtime”)

  • During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.
  • Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.
  • Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
  • If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

Rule 20.4 (“Major Penalties”)

  • An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.

Rule 9.6 (“Helmets”)

  • A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.

Thoughts…

The overtime rule should be fun. It’s obviously being implemented to see the game be decided via overtime and to steer away from the shootout.

Question on what happens if there is a penalty while teams are three-on-three is answered with going to four-on-three.

The other two rules are unnecessary in my opinion. Two fights and you get a game misconduct? You have to exit the ice if you lose your helmet? What if I am battling for a puck down low late in the third period of a tie game and I lose my helmet? I just give up the battle to leave the ice because I lost my helmet? It’s over thinking player safety, in my opinion.

Let’s end things today with a poll:

 

Align Up

If you are friends with me on Facebook, head over there to see storm pictures I posted from the bad storms that hit the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton area Tuesday evening. I lost my pool, deck and shed. Nothing insurance won’t cover and there was no other damage to the house or the cats.

So I am late with this post on the Divisional Alignment changes announced for the AHL in the 2014-15 season. I’m also a bit of a MacGyver too as a managed to run the generator wires to the internet nerve center and got that going, so I’m hammering out this post on my iPad on my patio.

Anyway. Here are the changes. The East Division gains the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and loses the Syracuse Crunch, who go to the Northeast Division, who lost the Adirondack Phantoms. The new Glens Falls team, the Adirondack Flames, slip into the Western Conference, where the likes of the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans are.

Should be a good year in this Division. Wilkes-Barre, Binghamton, Hershey and Norfolk are all good teams. The Phantoms haven’t been relevant since their days in Philadelphia, but maybe a new building, city and fan base will do them good.

Oh, no changes to the playoff format this year. It’s still best-of-five in the first round and best-of-seven after that. There was talk about making the first two rounds of best-of-five, but that didn’t happen this year.

Some parting notes, Brian Gibbons signed with the Columbus blue jackets and G Eddie Pasquale signed his qualifying offer with the Washington Capitals / Hershey Bears, who also added Tim Kennedy re-signed Kris Newbury. Alex Grant re-signed with Binghamton. Brad Thiessen signed with the Calgary Flames. Then there there is this read about restocking we’ll spare his roster from the papers in Pittsburgh. Finally, Pittsburgh announced it’s having their prospect camp for July 15 through the 19th. I already updated the 2014 Offseason Moves List to reflect the Gibbons defection to CBJ.

So that’s about it. More updates on the blog as the summer wears.

P.S. Can I come swim in your pool?

2014 Free Agency Recap: Day 3

Things really slowed down today. I’m probably not bringing back the liveblog back for Day 4. Here’s who did what in the East Division:

Pittsburgh re-signed Zach Sill. Sill will need waivers to get back to Wilkes-Barre this year. The Offseason Moves List has been updated.

Ottawa re-signed David Dziurynski and signed Aaron Johnson. Johnson, 46 on the Big Board, had 40 points for an up and down Hartford team this past year.

That was it. Brad Thiessen defected to Calgary, whose AHL team is in Adirondack for this upcoming season.

Here’s a story from Tom Venesky in Thursday’s Times-Leader about Nick Drazenovic. Drazenovic, concussed in Game 7 of the Providence series, is coming off of offseason hip surgery and was ticketed for Europe until the Pens called him and offered him another year.

If there is anything major for the Fourth of July, I’ll have it a blog post probably Saturday. If not, I may just update the moves that will be made over the weekend on Monday.

Happy Independence Day!

2014 Free Agency Recap: Day 2

Slower day today in comparison to yesterday. Here’s what went down surrounding the East Division:

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Wilkes-Barre / Pittsburgh

Steve Downie signed. He’ll never see Wilkes-Barre. He’ll grind away in Pittsburgh’s bottom six.

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Binghamton / Ottawa

Cole Schneider, Mike Sdao, Chris Wideman re-sign. Ottawa also adds Carter Camper, 21 on the Big Board. Camper is big time top six talent that has terrorized the Atlantic and Northeast Divisions of the AHL for years. I’m going to be very interested in seeing how Camper does in the East Division this season.

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Hershey / Washington

Nothing in the way of signings, but a homecoming. Troy Mann was named head coach and Bryan Helmer was named his assistant. Mann was an assistant with the Bears a few years ago and Helmer won a cup with the Bears a few years before that. Mann coached the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors this past season.

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Lehigh Valley / Philadelphia

Andrew Gordon signed. With Gordon in the mix along with Blair Jones, the Phantoms should make things interesting this season in Allentown, to say the least. I don’t have the Phantoms winning the division by any means, but I don’t have them finishing last, either.

Also added was Zack Stortini. Stortini is your typical grinder / enforcer type.

Tampa Bay and Anaheim were quiet today. No moves that I saw affecting the Crunch or the Admirals.

I’ll have the live blog back again for Day 3. Still some names left on the Big Board that would be great additions to an AHL lineup. We will see what Thursday brings.

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