A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
Category Archives: Pittsburgh
July 18, 2014Posted by on
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.
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!
July 15, 2014Posted by on
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.
That’s all for now.
July 10, 2014Posted by on
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.
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:
July 3, 2014Posted by on
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:
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!
July 2, 2014Posted by on
Slower day today in comparison to yesterday. Here’s what went down surrounding the East Division:
Wilkes-Barre / Pittsburgh
Steve Downie signed. He’ll never see Wilkes-Barre. He’ll grind away in Pittsburgh’s bottom six.
Binghamton / Ottawa
Cole Schneider, Mike Sdao, Chris Wideman re-sign. Ottawa also adds Carter Camper, 21 on the Big Board. Camper is big time top six talent that has terrorized the Atlantic and Northeast Divisions of the AHL for years. I’m going to be very interested in seeing how Camper does in the East Division this season.
Hershey / Washington
Nothing in the way of signings, but a homecoming. Troy Mann was named head coach and Bryan Helmer was named his assistant. Mann was an assistant with the Bears a few years ago and Helmer won a cup with the Bears a few years before that. Mann coached the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors this past season.
Lehigh Valley / Philadelphia
Andrew Gordon signed. With Gordon in the mix along with Blair Jones, the Phantoms should make things interesting this season in Allentown, to say the least. I don’t have the Phantoms winning the division by any means, but I don’t have them finishing last, either.
Also added was Zack Stortini. Stortini is your typical grinder / enforcer type.
Tampa Bay and Anaheim were quiet today. No moves that I saw affecting the Crunch or the Admirals.
I’ll have the live blog back again for Day 3. Still some names left on the Big Board that would be great additions to an AHL lineup. We will see what Thursday brings.
July 1, 2014Posted by on
Like piranhas on a piece of flesh in a pond, NHL Free Agency began at 12 noon today. The moves and press releases were coming in virtually non-stop with who signed where. Here’s the lowdown surrounding the Penguins organization as a whole and the rest of the AHL East Division:
Wilkes-Barre / Pittsburgh
Nick Drazenovic re-signed. Certainly a case of unfinished business for Drazenovic, who could have easily gone elsewhere.
Goaltender Thomas Griess signed. He and Jeff Zatkoff will battle for the backup spot behind Marc Andre-Fleury with the loser most likely ticketed to Wilkes-Barre. Waivers being what they are, since both Greiss and Zatkoff need to pass through them, is something which will need to be dealt with at that time.
Marcel Goc has re-signed with Pittsburgh as well.
Not a bad day for new General Manager Jim Rutherford. I was worried that with the change in the regime in Pittsburgh that this would come as a detriment to Wilkes-Barre. That does not appear to be the case on Day 1.
Here’s Pittsburgh’s nice recap on the departures and additions.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t win a Calder Cup in July.
Michael Cignoli had an update on Bombulie’s blog. Also, across town, Tom Venesky spoke with John Hynes, who expects less turnover than past years. System wise, it’ll be similar with slight changes, but the style will pretty much remain the same.
Here’s what everyone else in the division did, plus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who will be in the division next season:
Hershey / Washington
Michael Latta re-signs. He gave Wilkes-Barre problems last year.
Goaltender Justin Peters signs. He will back up Braden Holtby in Washington while Philipp Grubauer and Eddie Pasquale (provided he signs his qualifying offer) tend the nets in Chocolatetown.
Jon Landry and Mike Moore. Landry, late of the AHL’s Iowa Wild, is described by Bombulie as a “puck mover with size.” Moore is a leader, has worn a “C” pretty much everywhere he’s been, most recently with the Providence Bruins.
Chris Conner. Needs no introduction. If he gets squeezed out by the Caps, Conner could give teams including Wilkes-Barre, problems in the East Division.
Norfolk / Anaheim
Syracuse / Tampa Bay
Re-signed Mike Angelidis. Angelidis has been the heart and soul of the Crunch now for a few years.
Mike Blunden. A bit of a homecoming for Blunden, as he had previously played with the Crunch. Blunden, late of Hamilton, is a power forward coming off 18 goals this year with the Bulldogs.
Binghamton / Ottawa
Ottawa shipped Jason Spezza to Dallas for prospects. Those prospects are Nick Paul and Alex Guptill.
Lehigh Valley / Philadelphia
Goaltender Rob Zepp. It was erroneously reported on Twitter that Zepp was headed to Pittsburgh. Zepp comes over from Germany, and has won five titles for his Berlin club. I am more disappointed at all the fun I could have had with the Zepp, if he was heading here, with his name and playing that into punny headlines for the blog.
Blair Jones. A depth forward, 55 on the Big Board, which was a point-a-gamer with Abbotsford last season.
I didn’t link off here. Trust me on these.
Harry Zolnierczyk joined the New York Islanders. The Islanders / Sound Tigers look like the real winners from an AHL perspective because they also picked up ex-Bears goaltender David Leggio and highly ranked Jack Skille as well as top AHL Free Agent TJ Brennan. With pending realignment on the horizon for the AHL, better hope that the Sound Tigers aren’t in the same division as the Penguins this upcoming year.
Penguins to sign elsewhere include Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to Washington, Joe Vitale to Phoenix, Deryk Engelland to Calgary, Jussi Jokinen to Florida, Tanner Glass to the New York Rangers.
Of note, Shavertown product Patrick McGrath re-signed with the Wheeling Nailers.
Oh, also, the 2014 Offseason Moves List has been updated.
Live blog will be back up tomorrow at 8 am Wednesday, and will probably be up all day, as I am traveling to New York City to spend the Fourth of July with my brother and his wife. Depending on travel and relevant moves, I’ll do my best to update the blog at that time. If not, definitely Thursday morning. Latest on Twitter, as always.
June 29, 2014Posted by on
I wasn’t around Twitter much this weekend, which happened to be the weekend of the NHL Draft in Philadelphia, because family was in and we all went to the local Knoebel’s Amusement park Saturday and spent time together grilling and in the pool Sunday. So my coverage of the NHL Draft this year was nil to non-existent.
Not like I can say with certainty the winners and losers of the draft or even tell you who the players are after the first five picks. The NHL Draft is like the baseball draft, you never know the real winners and losers for another three or more years.
Pittsburgh did a great job of providing a tidy place to go as a one stop shop on all the picks selected. You can have a look here.
Attention turns this week to Free Agency, beginning Tuesday. What we do know is that all pending Unrestricted Free Agents will be allowed to test the open market. For Wilkes-Barre, that’s Brian Gibbons. All restricted guys (Jayson Megna, Bobby Farnham, Simon Despres and Philip Samuelsson) are getting offers, But if another, better one comes along, they can walk if Pittsburgh doesn’t match it.
Jonathan’s Big Board is out. It lists the Top 100 and alphabetizes the best of the rest. It’s a must have list for anyone tracking the free agent frenzy with an eye on the AHL.
One other move to note from our friends an hour south on I-81, Washington acquired the rights to goaltender Eddie Pasquale as what could be assumed a backup to Philip Grubauer in Hershey next season. Pasquale was with St. John’s this past year but had season ending surgery in January. He’s also a Restricted Free Agent, so he’ll need to be signed by the Capitals.
I’ll be back Tuesday morning with a live blog of sorts for the start of NHL Free Agency. My plan is a Twitter list of all 5 AHL East Division teams, their NHL parents along with the media that covers the AHL clubs plus bloggers. Also included this year will be Lehigh Valley, the old Adirondack Phantoms. Nothing has been announced with regards to realignment in the AHL yet, but it’s a foregone conclusion that the Phantoms will be in the Division next year.
Short of anyone taking a late jump to Europe, talk to you Tuesday.