Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Before the Weekend, Award of Caution

The AHL has been announcing awards this week and Matt Murray has won pretty much every one he has been eligible for.

Earlier this week, Murray was named the AHL’s Most Outstanding Rookie. This goes with his prior nominations to the 2014-15 AHL All-Rookie Team and the 2014-15 AHL First Team All-Star.

Today, he was named the AHL’s Most Outstanding Goalie.

You don’t need me to tell you what Murray has accomplished this season. Nearly every statistical category that Murray has gone up against he has broken. And not by a little, he’s basically taken a sledgehammer and shattered the records to pieces.

He still has three more games to bust up some more of the smaller fragments of what used to be AHL records.

The AHL still has yet to hand out its regular season MVP award. Cases can be made for other mortals, but the AHL’s players and media who vote on these end of year awards would be hard pressed not to give the award to Murray, hell, he has won everything else.

Outside of Murray’s crease, Coal Street added more insurance pieces.

First, Scott Wilson was recalled to Pittsburgh. He was the only forward recalled. As you know, Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington went up Sunday.

The Penguins added Jaden Lindo, Pittsburgh’s 2014 sith round pick, to an Amateur Tryout Agreement. The vibe picked up by Jonathan is that Lindo isn’t expected to get into any games.

The Penguins also added Sean Escobedo to a Professional Tryout Agreement. Escobedo is an ECHL’er, wrapping up his season with the Greenville Road Warriors. Jonathan had a dossier of Escobedo’s play in his Wednesday update.

The Penguins clinched a playoff spot last week, but their seeding and whether or not they can win the East Division remains up in the air.

Hershey lost to Lehigh Valley 4-1 on Tuesday. The Bears have a three point lead (96) on the Penguins (93) and have two games left to play, Friday and Saturday against Binghamton and Lehigh Valley, respectively.

The Penguins have three games left, two at home against Albany and Norfolk and then Sunday in Allentown against the Phantoms.

Seeding wise, the Penguins can finish as high as second but no lower than sixth. Right now, they have a two point lead over fifth place Syracuse (who has two games left) and a four point lead over sixth place Providence (three games left) and have the tie breaker (regulation or overtime wins) over every team they are competing with for seeding.

The Penguins need two more points to wrap up a finish of no less than fourth. That is because Syracuse and Providence can only max out 95 points.

It is becoming highly unlikely that the Penguins and Bears meet in the first round. The Penguins would need to lose out and Syracuse or Providence would need to finish a point ahead of Wilkes-Barre to drop them to sixth. Hershey would also need to finish third, but the Bears would only need a point more to finish no higher than second, because they are five points up on third place Hartford (91 points, three games left) and the Wolf Pack can only max out at 97 points and the Bears own the tie breaker. Hershey would need to lose out and have Hartford win out in order to get passed for second.

My head hurts.

The picture will get clearer as the weekend goes on. First things first though, the Albany Devils. Gameday for this hits the blog Friday at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

Yes, I’d Like to Return This…

So the stays of J-S Dea and Harrison Ruopp in Wilkes-Barre were short lived. They were returned to Wheeling Thursday.

Jonathan reported Wednesday that Bobby Farnham practiced in a limited role and has not been ruled out for games Saturday in Hartford and Sunday in Bridgeport. So the extra forward Saturday will probably come down to Farnham, Adam Payerl or Josh Archibald.

On Archibald, he performed better in Wheeling so he gets to stay. I still have no idea why Ruopp was recalled. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment.

On a potential suspension for Dylan McIlrath on Farnham Sunday, the AHL was mum this week so he’s not going to be suspended. While I respectfully disagree with the lack of action on behalf of the AHL, we have to move on.

If you live in Pittsburgh and get MyPittsburgh TV WPMY22, you will be able to watch the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on television. This was announced on Thursday. The games will be 3/14 vs. Hershey, 3/21 vs. Binghamton, 4/4 vs. Lehigh Valley and 4/18 vs. Norfolk. Press release with channel information here.

Pens are off Friday, I am planning on taking in the rematch between between Hershey and Binghamton from the Southern Tier on AHL Live. This is the final game in hand that the Bears, who have a five point lead in the East Division in the Penguins, play.

Unless something jumps off the page Friday, expect the next blog update Saturday at 3 p.m. for the Gameday setup vs. Hartford.

Reinforcements, Reassignments, Replacements

Bunch of news happening in the last twelve hours since the St. John’s recap. Here it is….

I’m fine with Zatkoff resting up and coming back better than ever next week against Springfield, or whenever it is he comes back. Goaltenders aren’t the main attraction in an All-Star exhibition. No one plays defense, and the goaltenders are left out to dry most times. I remember reading something one time that said when a goaltender came back from an All-Star event that his timing was all off and his second half performance suffered. For a Penguins team that sits currently out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, would you rather an off Zatkoff or a sharp Zatkoff for the Springtime playoff push? I would take the latter. So maybe the injury is a blessing in disguise.

More tomorrow vs. Norfolk.

Friday Night Roundup

With Wilkes-Barre off tonight, I watched a bunch of AHL acton tonight. I even had Wheeling on ECHL.tv on a side screen. Anyway, here’s the important games that matter to the Penguins this weekend….

ALB    3
button_lv200    2

Albany scores three unanswered goals in the third period and stun the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-2 in Allentown. It was the Devils second straight win after trailing after two periods and just the Phantoms third regulation loss at home. The Phantoms burn one of their games in hand on the Penguins and Bears tonight. They now have three on Wilkes-Barre and one on Hershey.

Speaking of the Hershey Bears, they were off tonight and host the Devils tomorrow night. Lehigh Valley gets Binghamton tomorrow at home. The B-Sens throttled the Syracuse Crunch 5-0 at home tonight, buoyed by a first period blitzkrieg that saw the B-Sens score four goals.

button_14mch200    4
WOR    5

The Worcester Sharks have won five straight games after a 5-4 shootout win at home against the Manchester Monarchs. The Sharks have won two games against the Monarchs this week and host the Penguins tomorrow. The Sharks battled back from a 2-0 and 3-2 deficits against a Manchester team that has pretty much been the class of the Eastern Conference all season long.

BRI    2
PRO    3

The P-Bruins, the Penguins Sunday opponent, beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at home 3-2 in overtime. Providence snaps a five game losing streak. Providence travels to Manchester Saturday.

WHL    5
BRA    2

Eric Hartzell stops 32 of 34 and the Wheeling Nailers win their first ever game on Canadian soil with a 5-2 win over the Brampton Beast tonight. The teams rematch again tomorrow and Sunday in Ontario.

button_pit200     3
button_nyi200     6

You never see me mention Pittsburgh scores here, because there are literally a thousand Pittsbugh Penguins blogs out there, but since I had it on in the background of the computer tonight, it’s worth a mention that the Penguins lost to the Islanders 6-3. Kyle Okposo had four goals for the Islanders. Boxscore here. How nice it must be to have ice time stats and face off percentages. Maybe someday here in the AHL.

No change to the top of the East Division standings tonight. The Penguins lead with 44 points. Hershey has 43 and Lehigh Valley has 41.

Gameday for the Worcester setup hits the blog at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

We’re Getting the Band Back Together

You may have forgotten the names Derrick Pouliot, Andrew Ebbett and Bryan Rust. If you have, how could you? They are the first, fifth and seventh leading point getters respectively on this Wilkes-Barre / Scranton team. How soon we forget!

Anyway, Pouliot was returned from Pittsburgh this week. Rust came down with Taylor Chorney the next day and Andrew Ebbett was placed on waivers yesterday and cleared at noon today. He hasn’t been assigned to Coal Street yet, but could be in the next 30 days or next 10 games.

Fallout from these moves saw on Friday Sahir Gill being sent back to Wheeling and Chorney and Scott Harrington swapping places.

EDIT: Scott Wilson was activated off of injured reserve and sent to Wilkes-Barre this afternoon. Wilson still leads the AHL Penguins with an 88% goals for percentage.

For a Penguins team on a bit of a slide with Bears in their mirror looming large (Hershey has two games in hand) and Phantoms in both teams mirrors looming larger (Lehigh Valley has four games in hand on Wilkes-Barre and two on the Bears) these reinforcements are a welcome addition.

The Penguins take on a Worcester Sharks team tomorrow that has won four straight coming into tonight, when they rematch against division leading Manchester who they beat for the first time Tuesday. Then Wilkes-Barre takes on the Providence Bruins on Sunday. Providence has been up and down this season and it appears that the Penguins are catching the Bruins down, as they are 0-3-1-1 in their last five games.

Hershey is off Friday too. They host Albany Saturday, who will have played their third game this week.

Lehigh Valley gets Albany at home Friday, Binghamton Saturday and travel to Hershey Sunday. The Phantoms will be playing six games in the next nine nights.

The East Division looks like this as we head into the weekend….

Team

Games Played

Record

Points

This Weekend

wbs14_200

39

20-15-1-3

44

@ WOR 1/17
@ PRO 1/18

her14_200

37

19-13-4-1

43

vs. ALB 1/17
vs. LV 1/18

lv14

35

18-12-4-1

41

vs. ALB 1/16
vs. BNG 1/17
@ HER 1/18

Should be interesting to see how everything shakes out Sunday at around 6 p.m. to say the least.

Gameday for Worcester will hit the blog Saturday at 3.

Bobbleheads, Reinforcements and Relocations

It’s cold out. Hope you are staying warm. One snowflake falls and creates snow, snow creates a snowball and a snowball rolls down the hill and starts an avalanche. Kind of like blogging. Individually, me writing about Bobby Farnham coming back into town or a Tux bobblehead isn’t warranted for a single blog post. But a conglomeration of the above? Let’s blog…

Coal Street announced three bobbleheads they are giving away later this season on Wednesday. They are….

Jayson Megna (available February 21)

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (available March 14)

tux bobble

Tux! (available April 4)

 

Photos courtesy of the Pens Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, top to bottom.

Scott Harrington and Bobby Farnham were sent back from Pittsburgh over the last two days. In a corresponding move, Coal Street sent Patrick McGrath, Zack Torquato and Clark Seymour back to Wheeling.

Norfolk is probably going away next season. This report out of Virginia states that the team may be sold to Anaheim as the AHL Westward Expansion continues. Oklahoma City won’t be back next season, probably heading to Bakersfield, home of the ECHL Condors. Anaheim’s AHL affiliate could potentially end up in San Diego. There are rumors that Manchester (LA Kings affiliate) may end up in Ontario (LA Kings ECHL affiliate) and Worcester (San Jose affiliate) may be going away too.

Be thankful you have a team here in Wilkes-Barre that gives away bobbleheads. Come to a game if you haven’t yet. This team is in first place, there are ticket deals. They care about you and the teams success on the ice. What are you going to do, go outside?

Gameday setup for the rematch vs. Norfolk hits the blog Friday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Mumps in the Road

You think that you have heard the last of mumps, but today it was revealed that Marc-Andre Fleury, Robert Bortuzzo and Olli Maatta weren’t feeling well today and were being tested for mumps.

As a result, Pittsburgh recalled Jeff Zatkoff. In a reactionary move, Coal Street recalled Eric Hartzell. Matt Murray, for the time being, is the man in net.

GM Jim Rutherford said today that the results on the tests for Fleury, et. al would be known in three days. They are quarantined. So forget about Zatkoff coming back this weekend.

There is no need for recall for Bortuzzo or Maatta, who were already down with injuries.

Wilkes-Barre has seen this fish before with Zatkoff going down with injury once this season in October against Albany. Matt Murray is more than capable of handling the number one job here with Eric Hartzell as his capable backup.

The Penguins host Albany Friday and travel to Binghamton Saturday.

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