Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: About Me

Blog of the Year Nomination

The fine folks at NEPA Blog Con have nominated this blog, along with four other blogs for “Blog of the Year” in the “Fitness and Sports” category.

I had no idea until about five minutes ago that I was even up for nomination until I was tagged in a Facebook post.

That’s just the thing with all that I do here. I’m not out for awards, or for recognition of any kind when it comes to this blog. I treat this like a hobby. If you read, great. If you want to get your information from someplace else, fine. It doesn’t matter to me. I will keep doing what I do. That this blog even gets nominated for consideration for “Blog of the Year” is an accomplishment in and of itself.

If you would to vote for the blog, the link is here. I voted for myself. I don’t know what the policy is for voting, or how many times you can do it. I’m not about to tell you to stuff the ballot to get me recognized for “Blog of the Year” because that’s not what I am about and that would be unfair. If you want to and it’s allowed, great, knock yourself out. But I didn’t tell you to do it.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Weekend Setup 12/19

I am off from my real job for these next two days so I got a large majority of my Christmas shopping done Thursday afternoon. I could not believe the amount of people out and about. My brother got me a $25 Panera gift card for my recent birthday and Panera, on a Thursday afternoon after the standard 12-1 lunch hour, was packed with people. Doesn’t anybody work anymore? Or are the standard 9-5 workdays a thing of the past and everyone has a .com, work-from-home business empire that they call their bread and butter? Baffles the mind…

Fontina Grilled Cheese with a baguette and a medium Mountain Dew, if you are scoring from home. Fontina Grilled Cheese from Panera is the bees knees.


Couple of things you know, then a few things you might not if you aren’t tuned into the M*A*S*H East Division like I am. Let’s get with the things that you may know…

Brian Gibbons was recalled in wake of Jayson Megna’s injury, yet the Penguins keep winning.

Jonathan’s Thursday update. In it, news that Eric Hartzell is starting tomorrow, Bobby Farnham on the 2nd power play unit and Reid McNeill’s unavailability. Jonathan had a Tuesday update that revealed that Dom Uher should be back this weekend, skating with a full shield.

– Wilkes-Barre will be donning Christmas jerseys this weekend. They had a big Twitter reveal on Tuesday, but it went totally over my head that the Holiday Nutcrackers they handed out Saturday actually had the jerseys painted on them. What slacking by me, I could have had an “exclusive” story on the Christmas jerseys before anyone else.

Outside of Wilkes-Barre, but staying in the East….

Hershey released Jamie Johnson from his standard playing contract and let him go back overseas to the Kontinental Hockey League. Johnson found himself a veteran scratch more than he saw himself of the ice, so it’s a move that was mutual, if I had to guess.

– Syracuse gets an offensive shot in the arm with the announcement this week that they have signed Jon DiSalvatore to an AHL deal. DiSalvatore had been playing in Munich, and much like Johnson in Hershey, wasn’t seeing as much ice as he wanted to so he was let out of his deal and returned here to play for a Syracuse team desperate for offense with much of their team in Tampa Bay on recall.

– Syracuse does get some help with the re-assignments of Matt Taormina and Dana Tyrell back from Tampa Bay.

– Ol’ buddy Chris Collins was released by Norfolk and goes back to his ECHL club in Bakersfield.

Sorry Binghamton, no news out of you this week.

Anyway, Worcester in in town already for the 7:05 Friday start tomorrow in Wilkes-Barre. Gameday for this will be here on the blog tomorrow at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

A Captain, A Blog, A Poll, and A Move

The Penguins have a Captain. Finally. As reported by Jonathan Bombulie this afternoon, Joey Mormina was named 18th captain in Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins history.

In my analysis, long overdue for the Penguins, who at times lacked a direction in my opinion especially in the month of December. We’ll see how this goes with Mormina wearing the “C” for the rest of the season.

In the news from Jonathan about Mormina’s election to the captaincy, was an update on Chris Collins and Alex Grant who are ready to go tomorrow vs. Norfolk. We are getting bodies back.

Speaking of bodies, Mark Eaton was signed by Pittsburgh on Monday. This gives Pittsburgh an overage of defensemen on the roster. One of those defensemen is Simon Despres, who does not require waivers to be assigned back to Wilkes-Barre. So I present another poll question:


Blog reader JC was in Bridgeport and sent me some video of the shootout round from Sunday. Everybody talks about Jayson Megna using the “Datsyuk move” so here it is. Thanks to JC for sending this into the blog.


Finally, I was informed this afternoon that this very blog was featured today on PA Live! as the “blog of the week” – all I can say is “Wow” as I didn’t ask to be featured and didn’t enter a contest to be featured yet the blog was on television this afternoon. If I get a link of the video I will toss it up here or mention it on Twitter or Facebook. I thank Harold Jenkins from nepablogs for featuring me. Nice to know that this hobby I call a blog gets recognition on television and elsewhere.

Update: Here is the video that ran on PA Live!  in case you missed it, like I almost did.

Gameday for tomorrow’s contest vs. Norfolk will be up on the blog at 3 p.m. tomorrow. Let’s Go Pens!!

Lovejoy Traded, Reese Recalled 2/6

Probably my dryest week in the way of content. I was ready to close up shop and go to bed at 10:00 on a Wednesday. Then this happened:


It’s no secret that Ben Lovejoy is one of my all-time favorite players to ever pass through Wilkes-Barre. He had sort of a cult following during his time here. An undrafted kid, playing his first professional season in Wilkes-Barre. Had a weekly column called “Blueline Diaries” for the local Arts & Entertainment publication The Weekender. Didn’t score his first AHL goal till St. Patrick’s Day. Dennis Bonvie assisted on it if my memory serves. Half of the sweaters in my closet are Lovejoy jerseys. I have both pucks from his hardest shot attempts from when he was named an AHL All-Star when Worcester hosted it in 2009. He was a likable guy.

For some reason though, all of the above never translated into success in the NHL playing for Pittsburgh, so he was shipped for a fifth rounder. Pittsburgh could have tried to waive him for purposes of assignment to Wilkes-Barre, but he most likely would have been claimed, so they dumped him for a value pick. I wish him well.

The move almost cements the place of Simon Despres on the Pittsburgh blueline.

The other move was Dylan Reese getting the recall to Pittsburgh. This move makes little sense because Pittsburgh was already scratching Lovejoy, but perhaps he’s an insurance policy for the back-to-back games Pittsburgh is playing this weekend. Who knows.

Anyway, since I am already 250+ words into this, here’s Jonathan’s Wednesday practice update. Beau Bennett is good to go for this weekend.

Next blog update, but for another trade / recall, will be Friday’s Gameday setup vs. Norfolk at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

Ink on Your Fingers

I hope the local portion of the Chirps from Center Ice reading contingent had the ability to purchase a Citizens’ Voice today. My print story pinch hitting for Jonathan Bombulie was in it. I was selfishly hoping for upper fold of the front of the sports page, but I will settle for Page B4. Here is the story in internet format. Not exactly James Ellery worthy, but you all seemed to enjoy it from what you gave me feed back wise on Twitter and Facebook, and for that I cannot thank you all enough.

Two things that didn’t make it past the editing table I wanted to share from last night:

– Joe Morrow was involved in his first pro fight with heavyweight Matt Clackson.

– Of the eight penalty shots awarded in the AHL this season, Brad Thiessen has been involved in two of them. He stopped Bridgeport’s Nino Niederrieter on October 20 and did not stop Garrett Mitchell last night.

It was an honor sitting on press row with the likes of the great Tim Leone who covers the Bears for The Patriot News and my fellow fan bloggers Sweetest Hockey on Earth. More of an honor pinch hitting for one of the best in this business.

We will return you to regular scheduled fan blogging this Wednesday when the Pens revisit Giant Center vs. the Bears. I’ll try to have something Monday or Tuesday in between here on the blog.


Blogger note: This wasn’t supposed to happen tonight. I pulled the trigger too early. Read this first.

I’ve caved.

Ever since my inception on Twitter, and later on this blog. I have been anti-Facebook. Never saw the point in it. Never saw the reason for it. Thought it was stupid. Thought it was a total waste of time. I’d play dumb with you when you mentioned Facebook and lambasted teams who ran “Facebook only” contests or posted “Facebook exclusive” content.

I’ve privately researched the social media site for a few weeks now. I have found that it is an enormous juggernaut of information when used properly. Much like Twitter, but in its own way. Seems that teams are more invested in the Facebook vehicle because of it’s functionality of being able to post short messages and information like Twitter, and run discussions in comments like blogs.

It would appear that there is an untapped audience of people who simply rely on Facebook to get their information and not really Twitter or blogs. I decided that I am simply doing the information I share a disservice by reaching out to half an audience.

So today, I am announcing my decision to jump in the pool with the rest of you and start a Facebook page for the blog. It will be a slow process while I get my sea legs under me building the page to my liking tailoring the information I gather much like on Twitter and getting it all to work with Twitter and WordPress. One of the things that I decided to do on the page was to follow, er, “like” all 30 NHL teams, all 23 ECHL teams and of course all 30 AHL teams. I want to try and stay on top of all three leagues this summer and upcoming season.

In closing no, this is not a joke. Check the page out here.

Thank You!

I offer the following post with no links. Everyone mentioned here is on Twitter. If you want to know more about a specific person, just mention me on Twitter, leave a comment on the blog or e-mail me.

Sent out a lot of “Thank You’s” on Twitter last night after the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins bowed out of the Calder Cup Playoffs 3-2 to the St. John’s IceCaps. If you don’t tweet you should, and follow me for Penguins banter.

In keeping with last night’s thank you’s the Twitter way, here it goes again:

Thank you to:

  • The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on a hell of a thirteenth season.
  • Brian Coe, Jill Heller, Josh McCorkle and the rest of the WBS Penguins front office employees for putting up with an over the top Penguins fan in me with a Twitter and a blog.
  • Mike O’Brien and Jonathan Bombulie on the media side for letting an insurance adjuster (me) come swim in their pool trying to act like local media.
  • Jason Chaimovitch and the braintrust in Springfield at AHL headquarters for the excellent work in keeping me informed so I can pretend like I know what I am talking about and again, act like I am a part of media.

Outside of WBS and the league she plays in, thanks to these people in other markets:

  • Tim Leone in Hershey. I try to emulate the wit on Twitter after him. I’ve learned that if you use Hershey as your benchmark, you are learning from the absolute best.
  • Michael Fornabaio in Bridgeport who is the inspiration for Chirps from Center Ice. What you read here with links and such was basically stolen from Mr. Fornabaio. He is another whom I try to emulate myself after on Twitter.
  • Joy Lindsay in Binghamton. With blogging and tweeting, I’ve yet to find another beat writer who works harder than this woman. She’ll never beat me in tweeting starting goalies, though. :)
  • Scott Stuccio in Hershey, voice of the Bears. Even though he hopped enemy lines and now bleeds Chocolate and White instead of Black and Gold you will never find a classier person at this level.
  • Bob Howard in Binghamton who runs the Power Play Post Show who had me on twice this season playing radio.
  • Patrick Williams who, despite being “called up” and covering the St. John’s IceCaps parent team, the Winnipeg Jets, was a huge help to a nobody (me) when I was first starting Twitter and the blog. The AHL really doesn’t have a well known observer of the sport anymore. A casual observer, if it were. Patrick Williams was that. I miss his insights on this league on a daily basis.

Good luck to Brendan McCarthy, Mark Andrews, Charlie Dart, Charles Pickett and the St. John’s IceCaps. Pete Michaud, Keith Phillips, Scott, Charlene and Kim and the Norfolk Admirals.

Good luck to Sherry and the Toronto Marlies and Eric Rodgers and the Oklahoma City Barons.

Other thanks has to go to Chris Roy from the Maine Hockey Journal, Darryl Hunt from Worcester, Tim McManus in Adirondack with Bob Rotruck, blog pals the Third Intermission out in Houston, 100 Degree Hockey in Cedar Park, Phil Giubileo, voice of the Sound Tigers, Keith Wozniak and LetsGoAmerks, Tracey Lake in Albany (and I guess Amy, too) my Hershey blog friends Sweetest Hockey run by Kyle and Kathryn, Cam Tucker and Dan Kinvig in Abbotsford, Nathan Mallett in San Antonio, the Admirals Roundtable who is, in my opinion, the number one AHL fan blog out there. Thanks to Mike Lappan and Jenni in Charlotte who runs Chasing Checkers. I miss the Checkers in Wilkes-Barre. More thanks to the biggest WBS fan in Toronto, Lindsey, Shawn Rine in Wheeling who covers the ECHL affiliate of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, Wheeling Nailers, like a snuggie. Brian Ring in Hartford, Dave Eminian and the guy who runs the Rivermen Fan Blog, MJ and Allovimo in Syracuse, the braintrust behind Chairman How’s Glorious Army. Mike Kelly, voice of the Springfield Falcons and Katharine there too. Dave Sottile in the Harrisburg area, Kate Krenzer with the Binghamton Senators, Carmine Vetrano, Stephen Nelson, late of Rockford. Jeff Green in Hamilton, Justin Walden and color commentator of the Bears Randy “Rock” Johnson. Justin Cohn in Fort Wayne, home of the Central League Champion Komets.

This line dedicated to Sue Johnson in Bridgeport, who gave this writer his first ever press credential in Bridgeport this season.

Thanks to my Pittsburgh contingents Oz, who runs Pens News Feed, Eric P from the Wilkes-Blog, Zach Boslett and Jesse Marshall from Faceoff Factor and Eric Majeski who did this before it was cool.

Many thanks also to the Wilkes-Barre contingent of the fan blogosphere, Butch Petit and Brent who runs PensFans4Ever and Tony Androckitis at Highland Park Hockey.

Most importantly, thank you, the fan, for coming here and reading this and interacting with me on Twitter. I maintain that I would still do this even if it were my mother, my cat and some random guy in Nebraska the only people reading this. That I get people coming here and following me on Twitter is a bonus, really.

I will be back and better than ever in 2012-2013, as I am confident the Penguins will be as well. Check back every now and again this summer for updates on offseason moves regarding the Penguins.

Let’s Go Pens!


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