Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: About Me

I Heard You Paint Houses

Normally, if anyone asks me what I do for a living, I causally tell them that, “I paint houses” which is a inference to the book about Frank Sheeran, who was a part of Bufalino Crime Family which originated from Pittston, PA, where I went to school as a young boy.

I don’t paint houses and I sure as hell don’t do what “painting houses” inferred to in the book, but I have been very busy this week with life in general, so I haven’t been able to update the blog at all this week as a result. Blogging doesn’t pay the bills, sadly.

Anyway, you may or may not have heard by now the influx of injuries and call-ups to Pittsburgh and injuries to the call-ups.

– Jayson Megna is called up essentially for Pascal Dupuis, who is out long term with a blood clot.
— Andrew Ebbett was called up for Marcel Goc, who hurt his foot.
— Brian Dumoulin was called up because Kris Letang is out with a groin injury and Robert Bortuzzo was under the weather during Tuesday’s morning skate before the game with New Jersey that night.
— Scott Wilson was called up because Sidney Crosby was also ill Tuesday but played in the game against the Devils.
— Anton Zlobin’s season is over after he has surgery to his shoulder.

Later…

– It was revealed that Chris Kunitz has a broken foot and is out at least a few weeks.
— Scott Wilson was injured in the second period of his NHL debut against New Jersey with a leg injury.
— Robert Bortuzzo was suspended two games for his late hit on Jaromir Jagr.

So Pittsburgh is down to 12 forwards and 6 defensemen. Wilkes-Barre has 11 forwards. Pittsburgh hosts Vancouver Thursday and Ottawa Saturday before traveling to Long Island to play the Islanders Monday. Wilkes-Barre hosts Lehigh Valley Friday, Hershey Saturday and travels to Giant Center Sunday.

Goc practiced today. His status Thursday against the Canucks is up in the air. If he can’t go, then another recall from Coal Street is going to be needed. I think either J-S Dea or Bryan Rust would be the safe bets there. I also think that another defenseman goes up to be the seventh defenseman. The logical choice is Scott Harrington. If it would turn out to be true, such terrible luck for Harrington as Dumoulin would probably dress over him and Harrington would, again, be stuck in the press box. Who knows.

Color me shocked that Pittsburgh actually divulged real information on injuries and laid out a possible timetable for recovery rather than using the painfully benign “upper / lower body” classification and “day-to-day / week-to-week” garbage we see all the time.

Anyway, I’ll be back in full force with pre and post game coverage of the slate of games this weekend.

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.

Anyway…

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:

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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.

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Finally, I was informed this afternoon that this very blog was featured today on PA Live! as the nepablogs.org “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:

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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.

Facebook

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.

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