Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Bobby Farnham Claimed Off of Waivers by the Devils

It appears as if the Bobby Farnham Era has ended here in the Wyoming Valley and Pittsburgh, in general as today the New Jersey Devils have claimed winger Bobby Farnham off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It was Ray Shero who signed and John Hynes who once coached Farnham. So it’s a reunion of sorts.

Our old buddy Jonathan Bombulie had this feeling way back in June that something like this could happen. I’ll let you all know when Jonathan gives me the winning Powerball numbers and when I win we all can go for a steak dinner someplace.

However you feel about Farnham, whether you love him or hate him, he continues his dream of playing in the NHL which is every hockey players intention.

Back later for the Week 3 AHL Power Rankings.

Monday Morning Leftovers

Couple things that happened after the Penguins 3-2 overtime win against Springfield Saturday that hasn’t been mentioned here on the blog yet.

– Most noteably, Bobby Farnham is currently on waivers. He was waived Sunday by Pittsburgh. If New Jersey nobody claims him, he will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre today at noon.

Makes me wonder what would happen with a guy like Tom Sestito if Farnham clears and is assigned here. Does Wilkes-Barre part ways with Sestito and go with Farnham every night? I think yes, because one is on an NHL contract (Farnham) and one is on an AHL PTO (Sestito)

– Bryan Rust was injured in Saturday’s overtime win in Nashville against the Predators. Rust took a puck off of the hand and wasn’t seen since. Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Mike Johnston didn’t have an update at Sunday’s practice (shocking) but said that the injury is, “long term” in nature.

Speculating, but it’s probably a hand fracture. Something like that is an 8-12 week recovery time, longer depending on where the fracture was an even more if they delay surgery or if he has surgery. You are looking at 4 weeks in a cast, then 4 weeks in a splint, then an additional 4 weeks of therapy at the very least. He’ll lose strength because he won’t be able to use the hand and probably upper body strength because he can’t lift weights with one hand. 12 weeks from now is the middle of January.

If hockey teams just disclosed injuries, then this is all avoidable. It is the one thing that I detest about the business.

– In case you missed it, I watched the Wheeling Nailers on ECHL.TV Sunday afternoon and blogged about the result, a 4-3 win against the Brampton Beast that propelled the Nailers into first in the North Division.

– Finally, the Hershey Bears had their home opener Saturday night and their GM, Doug Yingst, announced his retirement effective at the end of the season. Yingst is one of the greater minds in this business at this level and will leave a big hole when he steps down in the Spring.

My Week 3 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog at 4 today. Check those out then.

Coal Street Cutdowns

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins announced that they have released the following players Monday afternoon:

Derek Army, Shane Bakker, Mickael Beauregard, Riley Brace, Jarrett Burton, Paul Cianfrini, Sahir Gill, Christophe Lalancette, Matthew Maoine, Ryan Parent, Nick Petrecki, Brett Stern, Cody Wydo, Casey DeSmith.

They loaned the following players to Wheeling:

Adam Krause, Ty Loney, John McCarron, Patrick McGrath, Clark Seymour, Brian Foster.

And Anton Zlobin was reassigned to Wheeling from Pittsburgh.

There are 25 players left on the Penguins roster. They are:

Goaltenders: Tristan Jarry, Matt Murray

Defensemen: Derrick Pouliot, David Warsofsky, Barry Goers, Niclas Andersen, Will O’Neill, Reid McNeill Steve Oleksy, Harrison Ruopp. Evan Wardley is injured and still hasn’t reported.

Forwards: J-S Dea, Bryan Rust, Kevin Porter, Conor Sheary, Oskar Sundqvist, Scott Wilson, Tyler Biggs, Josh Archibald, Dominik Simon, Matia Marcantuoni, Dominik Uher, Kael Mouillierat, Tom Sestito, Tom Kostopoulos and Carter Rowney

So the goaltending tandem out of the gate is Matt Murray backed up by Tristan Jarry. I think it is safe to say that Jarry did outplay Brian Foster, but don’t expect Jarry to remain up the entire season unless continues to play lights out. I still think that he has a Wheeling trip or two in him.

Anton Zlobin to Wheeling is surprising, but not surprising. You heard rave reviews about guys like Sahir Gill, Ty Loney and Adam Krause in these last four preseason games. Uh, anyone mention Anton Zlobin or notice him? Anyone? So, let him go down to Wheeling and play. If he proves himself a worthy call-up, he will be back. There is just way too much depth on this current Penguins roster to give guys that were here last year a pass and an automatic roster spot. There are a lot of good teams in the Atlantic Division this season and every point is going to be crucial, so you want your best lineup night in and night out.

So that is it, we are set. Defenseman Tim Erixon was placed on waivers today from Pittsburgh and if he clears he may not immediately join Wilkes-Barre. The plan out of the gate is to carry eight defensemen up top. Erixson could be assigned within 30 days or before so many NHL games. I think 10 is the number, I could be wrong.

Anyway, if you missed earlier, the Pacific Division Preview hit the blog today at noon. Central Division tomorrow then the north Wednesday and finally the Atlantic Thursday. Keep it locked here.

More Cuts 10/3

Pittsburgh cut down their roster to what is most likely what they are going to head into the season with October 8 in Dallas.

To Wilkes-Barre: Forwards Bryan Rust and Jean-Sebastian Dea; Defenseman Derrick Pouliot

To Waivers for the purposes of assignment to Wilkes-Barre: Forward Kevin Porter and Defenseman David Warsofsky

Released: Sergei Gonchar


— I didn’t watch a second of NHL preseason games for Pittsburgh but from what I read, Derrick Pouliot had a rough preseason and was one of the worst players at plus / minus in the NHL. He is not subject to waivers and others that performed better were, so Pouliot was the odd man out.

— I don’t think that Pouliot stays here the whole season. His pedigree is much too great to keep him buried in the minors.

— Remaining up with Pittsburgh for the time is Tim Erixon and Adam Clendening (two defensemen that are subject to waivers, remember Pouliot isn’t) Daniel Sprong (can’t be sent to the AHL because he does not meet the minimum age requirement) and Bobby Farnham (who is also subject to waivers) Tom Kuhnhackl is hurt and can get sent back once he recovers.

— Jonathan scratched together a depth chart. He left off AHL contracted players Tom Kostopoulos, Carter Rowney and Barry Goers.

Seth tried to, and as Tom eluded to, this is the deepest pool of talent that Wilkes-Barre has in a while. Folks, this team is loaded for bear and will contend this season. Hell, it is going to need to to contend in Pennsylvania, let alone the Atlantic Division. Hershey and Lehigh Valley are going to be good this year also.

— Finally, the door is open for Sergei Gonchar to sign on with Wilkes-Barre. I am not saying that it is going to happen, but Pittsburgh used the same buzzwords when they let go of Tom Sestito. If he wants to stay in the organization, there is a spot at the table down in Wilkes-Barre. If Gonchar can’t find NHL work someplace else (his options are slim) and he wants to stay in an organization where he is loved and revered, and if the competitive fire still burns, who knows? Perhaps he signs on and is with Wilkes-Barre for a spell.

Back later for the recap of the preseason game down in Hershey later on.

A Camping We’ll Go, Just Don’t Be Late!

NHL training camps got going across the league this morning. The Pittsburgh Penguins started theirs today. Beat writers of old and new were in attendance. Start with Jonathan Bombulie, late of the Citizens Voice in Wilkes-Barre, and his observations of Day 1 of camp starting with Bobby Farnham. Farnham wants to make the team. I see it as a tough, if not impossible task, but Bobby is up to the challenge.

The new guy in town for the Voice, Seth Lakso, was there also with an emphasis on the players that will be joining Wilkes-Barre at some point. He also had a print version today of five things to expect this season of the 2015-16 version of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

Cleaning up some leftovers….

–> Wilkes-Barre signed John McCarron to an AHL deal this week. He captained the Cornell squad last year. Nothing flashy offensively, but the brass on Coal Street must see something in McCarron to ink him to an AHL pact. They have had success with unheralded Ivy Leaguers in the past you know.

–> Single game tickets to all Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hockey games go on sale Setpember 21.

–> Last weekend in London, Ontario, the Penguins posted a picture of ex-Captain and all around good fellow Dave Gove. Gove was in Penguins gear helping out. You gotta learn how to read tea leaves when it comes to things like this. Gove has been retired from professional hockey for years now. Why all of a sudden is he back on the ice, “helping out?” Well, the answer was made know today. The Wheeling Nailers, the Penguins ECHL affiliate, announced that they have hired Gove as assistant coach to Clark Donatelli. Hell, the former captain named assistant coach Alain Nasreddine went with John Hynes to New Jersey, why not plant a seed and home grow another assistant coach? It makes sense.

–> To my headline, the New York Islanders sent highly Joshua Ho-Sang back to his OHL team, the Niagra IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League because he was late for training camp. You are a rookie taking the first step professionally in your career. You may not want to be late. First impressions are lasting ones.

–> Finally, some team an hour south of here was named number one AHL logo by The Hockey News magazine. You may have heard of them.

Have a great weekend.

Jerseys, Training Camp Rosters, Oh My!

As we continue to edge towards the beginning of hockey season, some things are coming together…

–> Pittsburgh announced its training camp roster. The usual suspects were invited. Also invited were AHL contracted Barry Goers, Tom Kostopoulos and Carter Rowney. No surprises with guys signed to PTOs that you haven’t already heard of in some way or another. Full roster in pdf version is here. Camp opens September 17.

–> Wilkes-Barre announced their warmup and third jersey’s today on their Instagram page. If you don’t have Instagram or don’t know what I am talking about, look…

Thoughts on the new jerseys? Leave a comment.

A Rabbit and a Sestito Walk Into a Matrix…

The moment we have all been waiting for is nearly here. It was announced today that the 2015-16 AHL playing scheduled will be released Thursday at 1 p.m. I’ll have a full dissection of the schedule of opponents the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will face starting in October here on the blog Thursday afternoon. Same workup as prior years with a question and answer session. If I think of any new wrinkles between now and then I will work them in. Fun times ahead.

Elsewhere, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Tom Sestito to a professional tryout agreement. Sestito is a journeyman and part of a dying breed of one trick ponies who know nothing other than how to fight. You can take this news any which way you like. A protector for Sidney Crosby / Evgeni Malkin / Phil Kessel, or Daniel Carcillo redux. As you recall, Pittsburgh signed Carcillo to a similar professional tryout agreement last year before releasing him. Carcillo later signed on with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that won the Stanley Cup last year. What I don’t see is Sestito a replacement for the currently unsigned Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond here in Wilkes-Barre. Sestito I don’t think is willing to settle for the AHL, as evidenced last season when his prior team, Vancouver, tried to send him to their AHL affiliate Utica. He refused and Vancouver sent him home. I think Sestito comes in with the intention of making the Pittsburgh roster and if not, he packs his bags and heads in another direction.

Pittsburgh also announced Tuesday the roster for the rookie tournament. Notable names like Derrick Pouliot, Bryan Rust, J-S Dea, Connor Sheary and Anton Zlobin are among the participants who will face off against the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Senators prospects in London, Ontario in September.

In other minor league hockey news, the Greenville Road Warriors are no more in the ECHL. Instead, they reincarnated as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. No, I am not joking. Link to the official news from the ECHL here. Yes, the logo includes an angry rabbit holding a carrot that is also being used as a hockey stick. The Wheeling Nailers will face off against the Swamp Rabbits just once this upcoming season, February 26 in Wheeling.

Check back tomorrow for full dissection on the Penguins schedule Thursday afternoon. Hockey season will be here before you know it.


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