Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

First Weekend of Camp

The first weekend of training camp is in the books on Coal Street. Different from this year is the lack of long shot names to make the roster for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. It’s a camp comprised of guys that will likely be significant contributors to the Penguins success in 2014-15.

So you would expect the first weekend of camp to be intense. It was. This team made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back years but none of that matters in late September when every AHL team is 0-0 and every single one has their eye on the Calder Cup, currently residing in Cedar Park, Texas.

Here are the the recaps from the Penguins website on Day 1 and Day 2. Here’s Jonathan’s take.

A note, Jayson Megna, Dominik Uher and Reid McNeill were re-assigned by Pittsburgh Saturday night.

All of those signings Pittsburgh made this offseason bumped a guy like Megna back to Wilkes-Barre. While surprising to some, Megna’s presence will certainly aid the Wilkes-Barre offense. It shouldn’t be a long stay for Megna, provided he continues to do all the things necessary that got him his first NHL game action last year.

Tonight is the last chance to vote Chirps from Center Ice NEPA Blog Con’s “Sports Blog of the Year” make sure you vote if you haven’t and vote some more if you have.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. The first preseason pucks hit the ice across the AHL this week. Wilkes-Barre hosts Utica Wednesday.

First Round of Cuts

Pittsburgh trimmed its roster today to 37 players Wednesday afternoon. From the release…..

The Penguins assigned 13 players to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL): goaltenders Matt Murray and Eric Hartzell; forwards Scott Wilson, Josh Archibald, Anton Zlobin, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Matia Marcantuoni, Tom Kuhnhackl, Adam Payerl, Bryan Rust and Nick Drazenovic; and defensemen Nick D’Agostino and Harrison Ruopp.

Goaltender Tristan Jarry has been assigned to his junior team, the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League – the defending WHL and Memorial Cup champions.

Four players – forwards Tom Kostopoulos and Conor Sheary and defensemen Alex Boak and Clark Seymour – have been released from their tryout contracts and will report to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s training camp.

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I’m actually surprised that guys like Bobby Farnham and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond made it through the first round of cuts.

Players that did time in Wilkes-Barre last year that remain with Pittsburgh are Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Reid McNeill and Scott Harrington on the blueline. Forwards with Wilkes-Barre last year still with Pittsburgh include the aforementioned Farnham and Leblond, Andrew Ebbett, Jayson Megna, Zach Sill and Dominik Uher. Kasperi Kapanen and Oskar Sundqvist stay with Pittsburgh, but if they get cut, I don’t think a ride to Wilkes-Barre is in their future. They may be Europe bound.

Wilkes-Barre opens camp this weekend. Details and schedule of events here.

Don’t forget to vote Chirps from Center Ice NEPA Blog Con’s, “Sports Blog of the Year” if you haven’t already. And if you have, vote again. Voting closes September 28.

A Camping We Will Go…

Just a few things to catch up on as October approaches…

Pittsburgh opens camp Friday. Here is the list of who was invited. No real surprises as far as invitees go. The name on the list which stood out was Daniel Carcillo, as a try out. Carcillo did some time in Wilkes-Barre a few years ago before being traded to Phoenix. I think it is a stretch to ever even consider having a homecoming celebration for him.

The rookie tournament was this past weekend. The Penguins went 2-1. The recaps are here, here and here. I never try to pay too much attention to these because a) I can’t watch; b) a majority of these guys get released or playing could end up in Wheeling; and c) How you did in a Rookie Tournament means nothing in the middle of November.

Jonathan had some takeaways on the rookie tournament. He also used a headline you may or may not see in a future game recap here on the blog.

I’m working on my AHL Previews and they are for all intents and purposes done. I just have to link all the blogs and media coverage and what not and add formatting. I don’t want to give it all away, but the Penguins are going to have a lot of youth on this team with a mix of veterans. Normally it’s the other way around or a 50/50, but there are going to be a lot of guys like Conor Sheary, J-S Dea coming into their first full year of pro hockey with guys like Anton Zlobin, Scott Harrington and others coming into their second. Every team in the East Division has pitfalls. For the Penguins, youth could be one of them.

Back to camps, Jonathan also had another early look at depth charts. Again, looking strictly off of the guys in red, you have a ton of youth headed back to Coal Street at some point.

Alumni watch: Goaltender Jeff Deslauriers was invited to Los Angeles Kings camp, Peter Mannino is in Tampa Bay’s camp. Defensemen Brendan Mikkelson is in Toronto’s camp with Spencer Machacek. Since these are basically tryouts, I’m not making an alteration to my Offseason Moves List.

Wilkes-Barre will be announcing and opening their camp information soon. We are less than two weeks away from preseason hockey against Utica on October 1. Enjoy what’s left of summer.

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:

 

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!

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