Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: The AHL

East Divison Preview

Regular AHL

We have reached the conclusion of the Fifth Annual Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews in all too familiar territory, the East Division. If you missed any of the other division previews in this fine League, please use the scroll down menu at the top of the blog.

eastconf

east

The only change in the division is the Syracuse Crunch out and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in. Since the Penguins reside in this division, they obviously play all the teams listed multiple times. Home games are featured in bold.

Here we go…

14bng_500

NHL Affiliation: Ottawa Senators

Record: 44-24-3-5 (96 pts., 1st place East Division)

Playoffs: 3 seed — Lost in four games to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Head Coach: Luke Richardson

Arena: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Evansville IceMen

Offseason Moves: Carter Camper, Aaron Johnson

The case for: Division Champs bolster an already solid lineup with excellent additions in Camper and Johnson.

The case against: This Binghamton team streaked like no tomorrow last season, good for bad, bad for good. That recipe may spell disaster this season.

Media Coverage: Matt Weinstein and Matt Verderame for the Press & Sun-Bulletin

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @BSens_Hockey

Facebook: /binghamtonsenators

Instagram: bsens_hockey

Broadcaster: Grady Whittenburg

vs. WBS: 10/26, @ 11/8, @ 12/20, @ 12/26, 1/2, 2/11, 3/21, @ 3/27

14her_500

NHL Affiliation: Washington Capitals

Record: 39-27-5-5 (88 pts., 4th place East Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Troy Mann

Arena: Giant Center

ECHL Affiliation: South Carolina Stingrays

Offseason Moves: Tim Spencer, Philippe Cornet, Jon Landry, Mike Moore, Chris Conner, Tim Kennedy

The case for: New leadership under a familiar name in Troy Mann have Bears fans hopes for a return to glory sooner rather than later.

The case against: A lot of teams caught and passed the 11 time Champs. Can they recover?

Media Coverage: Tim Leone for PennLive

Fan Blog: Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Twitter: @TheHersheyBears

Facebook: /TheHersheyBears

Instagram: thehersheybears

Broadcaster: Scott Stuccio

vs. WBS: @ 10/25, 11/7, @ 11/16, @ 11/26, 12/6, @ 12/7, 12/14, 12/31, @ 1/3, @ 2/7, 3/11, 3/14

14lv_500

NHL Affiliation: Philadelphia Phantoms

Record: 30-38-2-6 (68 pts., 4th place Northeast Division, playing as the Adirondack Phantoms)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Terry Murray

Arena: PPL Center

ECHL Affiliation: Reading Royals

Offseason Moves: Connor Knapp, Darroll Powe, Austin Fyten, Brett Hextall, Andrew Gordon, Blair Jones, Zack Stortini

The case for: The Phantoms may boast the most star studded lineup in the East Division, with names like Powe and Gordon. The new kid on the block may be able to contend in what’s called the toughest division in the AHL.

The case against: Goaltending. Probably the weakest in the division, if not the Conference. Inexperience in goal could doom this team early and often.

Media Coverage: Gary Blockus for The Morning Call

Fan Blog: The Horn and Bell

Twitter: @LVPhantoms

Facebook: /LehighValleyPhantoms

Instagram: lehighvalleyphantoms

Broadcaster: Bob Rotruck

vs. WBS: 10/11, @ 10/29, 11/14, 12/5, @ 12/13, 1/31, 2/14, @ 3/22, @ 3/28, 4/4, @ 4/8, @ 4/19

14nor_500

NHL Affiliation: Anaheim Ducks

Record: 40-26-3-7 (90 pts., 3rd place East Division)

Playoffs: 8 seed — Lost in six games to the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: Jarrod Skalde

Arena: Scope Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Utah Grizzlies

Offseason Moves: Jason LaBarbera, Steve MacIntyre, Nathan McIver, Brad Winchester

The case for: Might be the toughest team in the division, if not the conference.

The case against: What exactly did Norfolk do this offseason other than adding an aging goaltender in LaBarbera and Steve MacIntyre, who may only dress for less than half of their games?

Media Coverage: Virginian Pilot

Fan Blog: Admirals Aftermath / Beneath the Scope

Twitter: @NorfolkAdmirals / Ads Game Updates

Facebook: /NorfolkAdmirals

Instagram: norfolkadmirals

Broadcaster: Pete Michaud

vs. WBS: @ 10/31, @ 11/1, 12/28, 1/6, 1/9, @ 1/23, @ 1/24, 4/18

14wbs_500

NHL Affiliation: Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 42-26-3-5 (92 pts., 2nd place East Division)

Playoffs: 6 seed — Lost in six games to the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Head Coach: John Hynes

Arena: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

ECHL Affiliation: Wheeling Nailers

Offseason Moves: Taylor Chorney

The case for: The core that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals returns. While not as an impressive offseason as in prior years, I see no reason why this team cannot compete for a division title.

The case against: Youth and inexperience. A lot of second year guys and rookies may be relied upon to carry the offensive load this season.

Media Coverage: Jonathan Bombulie for The Citizens’ Voice and Tom Venesky for The Times Leader

Fan Blog: I do not know of another that does it better than I.

Twitter: @WBSPenguins / WBS Game Day

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins

Instagram: wbspenguins

Broadcaster: Mike O’Brien

Thanks for reading my previews. I hope you enjoyed read thing them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you have a team going tonight in the AHL’s Opening Night, Good Luck and Happy New Year. The Penguins open their 16th Season tomorrow at 7:05 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at home. The Gameday Setup for this returns to the blog Saturday at 3 p.m.!

Hartzell Down, Murovich Signed, Blog of the Year

A few things to mention today as my AHL Previews continue….

– Coal Street was active Thursday afternoon, signing Tyler Murovich to an AHL contract and assigning him to Wheeling. Murovich was recently let go by the Pens this week, but picked up and signed today.

– Eric Hartzell will begin the season with the Wheeling Nailers, having been sent down Thursday. At this stage of Hartzell’s development, the Penguins felt that he would be better suited as a number one goaltender vs. backing up Jeff Zatkoff, fresh off of being an NHL backup to Marc Andre Fleury last season. I don’t consider Hartzell starting the year in the ECHL a bad thing at all. He’s not going to be number one in Wilkes-Barre, he’s a second year pro and not a rookie, let him prove his worth in Wheeling in the ECHL. Matt Murray, a rookie and Zatkoff’s backup, will get plenty of opportunities to show that he belongs in the AHL. Most likely we will see Murray start a game next weekend in St. John’s. If Murray falters and Hartzell shines, the two are easily interchangeable.

– The Penguins also announced their broadcast schedule. All games will be heard on WILK Newsradio and there will be eight television games. They will be all Saturday games and are as follows: October 11 vs. Lehigh Valley, December 6 vs. Hershey, January 31 vs. Lehigh Valley, February 21 vs. Providence, March 14 vs. Hershey, March 21 vs. Binghamton, April 4 vs. Lehigh Valley and April 18 vs. Norfolk.

– On Wheeling, they extended Head Coach Clark Donatelli for three more years and signed a three year extension with WesBanco Arena, guaranteeing that the Nailers remain in West Virginia through 2017-18.

– The Great Mike Fornabaio broke down the rules changes this season in the AHL. A good read for a rules nerd like me.

Oh, one more thing. I was notified today that Chirps from Center Ice won “Sports Blog of the Year” as part of the NEPA Blog Con contest that ran a few weeks ago. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me and this blog. Again, as I have said before in the past, this blog is a hobby which I enjoy very much. To see that my hobby is being rewarded with an award is very humbling. So thank you to all who voted for the blog. I honestly do very much appreciate the support.

We close out the AHL Previews with the East Division at noon tomorrow. Barring any more breaking news, the Gameday Setup vs. Lehigh Valley will be on the blog Saturday at 3 p.m.

Northeast Division Preview

Regular AHL

Welcome back to Day Four of the Fifth Annual Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews. Today, we are in the Northeast Division. If you missed the Western Conference Divisions earlier this week or the Atlantic Division from yesterday, the drop down menu at the top of the blog is your best friend. Check them out.

eastconf

northeast

The only change to this division is the Adirondack Phantoms relocating to the East Division as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Syracuse Crunch vacating their spot in the East Division and coming up and joining the Northeast Division. The Penguins play everybody in this division multiple times with the home games listed in bold.

Here we go…

14alb_500

NHL Affiliation: New Jersey Devils

Record: 40-23-5-8 (93 pts., 2nd place Northeast Division)

Playoffs: 5 seed — Lost in four games to the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Head Coach: Rick Kowalsky

Arena: Times Union Center

ECHL Affiliation: None

Offseason Moves: Paul Thompson

The case for: This criminally underrated Devils team snuck up on a bunch of teams last season and had their best season since the River Rats days. They’ll probably replicate it again this year.

The case against: This criminally underrated Devils team won’t sneak up on anyone this season.

Media Coverage: Pete Dougherty for the Albany Times Union / Bill Cain for The Daily Gazette

Fan Blog: Thoughts Inside the Box

Twitter: @AlbanyDevils

Facebook: /AlbanyDevils

Instagram: albanydevils

Broadcaster: Josh Heller

vs. WBS: @ 10/21, @ 11/21, 12/19, 4/17

14bri_500

NHL Affiliation: New York Islanders

Record: 28-40-2-6 (64 pts., 5th place Northeast Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Brent Thompson

Arena: Webster Bank Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Stockton Thunder

Offseason Moves: David Leggio, Harry Zolnierczyk

The case for: Bridgeport was in an offseason arms race with Hartford for who could add the most perennial AHL All-Stars. I think this club will contend and make playoffs this season.

The case against: As with any team, Calder Cups aren’t passed out in the Summer. The Sound Tigers will need to prove that they can sustain a winning environment for 76 games.

Media Coverage: Michael Fornabaio for the Connecticut Post

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @TheSoundTigers

Facebook: /soundtigers

Instagram: thesoundtigers

Broadcaster: Phil Giubileo

vs. WBS: 12/12, 12/27, @ 2/8, @ 3/1

14hfd_500

NHL Affiliation: New York Rangers

Record: 37-32-1-6 (81 pts., 3rd place Northeast Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Ken Gernander

Arena: XL Center

ECHL Affiliation: Greenville Road Warriors

Offseason Moves: Ryan Potulny, Vinny Saponari, Chris Mueller, Nick Tarnasky, Chris Bourque

The case for: As with Bridgeport, the Wolf Pack added big name after big name this offseason. The streak of no playoff teams from the State of Connecticut is in jeopardy next Spring.

The case against: See Bridgeport’s.

Media Coverage: Paul Doyle for the Hartford Courant Mitchell Beck for Howlings.net

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @WolfPackAHL

Facebook: /HartfordWolfPack

Instagram: hartford_wolfpack

Broadcaster: Bob Crawford

vs. WBS: @ 2/22, @ 2/28, 3/15, 4/1

14spr_500

NHL Affiliation: Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 47-23-1-5 (100 pts., 1st place Northeast Division)

Playoffs: 2 seed — Lost in five games to the Providence Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Head Coach: Jared Bednar

Arena: MassMutual Center

ECHL Affiliation: Kalamazoo Wings

Offseason Moves: Jerry D’Amigo, Brian Gibbons, Mike Hoeffel

The case for: Springfield improved itself in the offseason with the organizational acquistions of D’Amigo and Gibbons. Should either make it to Western Massachusetts this season, expect a solid Springfield team.

The case against: This division may be one of the more competitive divisions in the AHL. That can’t bode well for any club that goes on a run of losses. Springfield included.

Media Coverage: MassLive.com

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @TheFalconsAHL

Facebook: /falconsahl

Instagram: thefalconsahl

Broadcaster: Andy Zilch

vs. WBS: 10/24, @ 1/30, 2/3, @ 3/8

14syr_500

NHL Affiliation: Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 31-32-4-9 (75 pts., 5th place East Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Rob Zettler

Arena: Onondaga County War Memorial Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Florida Everblades

Offseason Moves: Matt Corrente, Jerome Samson

The case for: Getting out of the East Division is one.

The case against: Going to this pit of vipers in the Northeast is another. Every team could be listed as a playoff contender. I can’t say the same for Syracuse. It may be another long season in Central New York.

Media Coverage: Lindsay Kramer for the Syracuse Post-Standard

Fan Blog: Chairman How’s Glorious Army

Twitter: @SyracuseCrunch

Facebook: /syracusecrunch

Instagram: officialsyracusecrunch

Broadcaster: Dan D’Uva

vs. WBS: 11/9, 11/15, @ 1/10, @ 3/20


We close out the Previews tomorrow with the East Division Friday at noon!

Atlantic Division Preview

Regular AHL

Back for Day Three in familiar territory here at the Fifth Annual Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews. On Monday and Tuesday, we looked at the North, Midwest and West Divisions. Use the handy drop down at the top of the blog to check out those teams and divisions if you missed them.

Today, we examine the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. The Penguins play everyone in this division at least twice. Home games are listed in bold.

eastconf

atlantic

No changes to any teams in this Division. Here we go…

14mch_500

NHL Affiliation: Los Angeles Kings

Record: 48-19-3-6 (105 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: 1 seed — Lost in four games to the Norfolk Admirals in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Head Coach: Mike Stothers

Arena: Verizon Wireless Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Ontario Reign

Offseason Moves: Yann Danis, David Van Der Gulick

The case for: Look for the Monarchs to come back with a vengeance after last years first round disappointment.

The case against: This team would struggle to contend in the tougher divisions.

Media Coverage: New Hampshire Union Leader

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @MonarchsHockey

Facebook: /MonarchsHockey

Instagram: monarchshockey

Broadcaster: Ken Cail

vs. WBS: 10/12, 11/22, @ 3/6, @ 3/7

14por_500

NHL Affiliation: Arizona Coyotes

Record: 24-39-3-10 (61 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Ray Edwards

Arena: Cross Insurance Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Gwinnett Gladiators

Offseason Moves: Evan Oberg, Eric Selleck, Dylan Reese, Alexandre Bolduc, Mike McKenna

The case for: New and improved Pirates team shouldn’t finish last in the division this season.

The case against: While I don’t think that the Pirates finish in Davey Jones’ Locker this season, they are quite a ways away from contenders discussion.

Media Coverage: Chris Roy for the Maine Hockey Journal

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @PortlandPirates

Facebook: /PortlandPirates

Instagram: piratesahl

Broadcaster: Jeff Mannix

vs. WBS: 11/19, 2/13, @ 4/11, @ 4/12

14pro_500

NHL Affiliation: Boston Bruins

Record: 40-25-2-9 (91 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: 7 seed — Lost in seven games to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: Bruce Cassidy

Arena: Dunkin’ Donuts Center

ECHL Affiliation: South Carolina Stingrays

Offseason Moves: Steve Eminger, Christopher Breen, Jeremy Smith

The case for: Probably the deepest blueline in the AHL. The P-Bruins should be a lock to win the Atlantic Division this season.

The case against: The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. The Penguins own the Bruins in the playoffs.

Media Coverage: Mark Divver for the Providence Journal

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @AHLBruins

Facebook: /providencebruins

Instagram: ahlbruins

Broadcaster: Nick Gagalis

vs. WBS: @ 1/18, 2/21

14stj_500

NHL Affiliation: Winnipeg Jets

Record: 46-23-2-5 (99 pts., 2nd place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: 4 seed — Lost in five games to the Texas Stars in the Calder Cup Finals.

Head Coach: Keith McCambridge

Arena: Mile One Centre

ECHL Affiliation: Ontario Reign

Offseason Moves: Julien Brouillette, Patrick Holland, Peter Budaj

The case for: IceCaps should be high on your list as a team that will contend for the Atlantic Division.

The case against: You just never know with this St. John’s team. A year after they were steamrolled by Norfolk in the Eastern Conference Finals a few years back, they finished near the bottom the very next season.

Media Coverage: Brendan McCarthy and Robin Short for the St. John’s Telegram

Fan Blog: Charles Dart with The Hockey Writers

Twitter: @IceCapsAHL

Facebook: /stjohnsicecaps

Instagram: stjohnsicecaps

Broadcaster: Brian Rodgers

vs. WBS: @ 10/17, @ 10/18, 11/29, 1/21

14wor_500

NHL Affiliation: San Jose Sharks

Record: 36-34-4-2 (78 pts., 4th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Roy Sommer

Arena: DCU Center

ECHL Affiliation: None

Offseason Moves: Evan Trupp, Jeremy Langlois, Tye McGinn, Bryan Lerg, Taylor Fedun, Matt Taormina

The case for: Sharks added a bunch of solid AHLers this offseason. Can they put it together and contend this season?

The case against: If you have followed the Sharks closely in the past few years, the answer to the question above is probably no.

Media Coverage: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Fan Blog: Darryl Hunt for Sharks Page

Twitter: @WorcesterSharks / Sharks AHL In Game

Facebook: /WorcesterSharks

Instagram: worcestersharks

Broadcaster: Eric Lindquist

vs. WBS: @ 1/17, 4/3

We continue tomorrow at noon examining the Northeast Division.

All-Stars and Non

Interrupting the AHL Previews with a note on some news of the day…

Coal Street made cuts today.Tyler Murovich, Patrick McGrath, Jonathan Narbonne, Carter Rowey, Kevin Ryan and Clark Seymour were released. McGrath, Rowney and Seymour will go to Wheeling. The other guys were on ECHL deals elsewhere.

NHL rosters have to have 23 names on them by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Only Chris Kunitz (illness) and Kasperi Kapenen (went home to see family) did not practice today for Pittsburgh. Guys like Evgeni Malkin and Olli Maatta did practice and could be ready for the start of the season, so it’s still possible that we see a name or three find their way back to Wilkes-Barre later today or this week. Front runners in my opinion are Taylor Chorney and Zach Sill, but who knows. Every time I try to talk myself through who can or can’t get sent back here I only end up confusing myself further. Who comes, comes.

Edit: After I published this, Pittsburgh announced that Oskar Sundqvist was returned to his Swedish club, Scott Harrington was assigned here and Andrew Ebbett, Taylor Chorney and Zach Sill were sent to Wheeling of the ECHL. Release here. The ECHL moves are so the team can get under the salary cap. I’d expect Sill, Chorney and Ebbett to be recalled back to Pittsburgh Wednesday.

Springfield announced where they are having the All-Star Classic this year. It’s Utica, home of the Comets. They will return to the East vs. West format that they’ve used in the past. Last year it was a cast of AHL All-Stars vs. Farjestad in St. John’s, while the NHL was on the OIympic break. I think fans like the East v. West format. I know I do. Tickets go on sale November 1.

Big day for minor league hockey as the ECHL announced it has granted membership to the seven remaining Central Hockey League teams; Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Missouri Mavericks, Quad City Mallards, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder. Details here. It brings the number of ECHL clubs up to 29, with Las Vegas sitting out this season while they finalize details on a new home to play in 2015-16.

Look for the next non-AHL Preview blog piece to come in the form of the Gameday setup vs. Lehigh Valley Saturday at 3 p.m.

Remember, you can always keep up with me @nafsnep on Twitter.

West Division Preview

Regular AHL

Welcome back to Day Two of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews. Today we close out the Western Conference with a look at the teams in the West Division. If you missed the North and Miwest Division previews from yesterday, you can click here for the North and here for the Midwest or at anytime utilize the drop down menu at the top of the blog.

westconf

west

The West Division lost the Abbotsford Heat to incarnation of the Adirondack Flames and the North Division and gained the Iowa Wild, late of the Midwest Division last season. Wilkes-Barre does not play anybody in this division.

14cha_500

NHL Affiliation: Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 37-36-1-2 (77 pts., 4th place West Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Jeff Daniels

Arena: Time Warner Cable Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Florida Everblades

Offseason Moves: Kyle Hagel, Alex Aleardi, Drew MacIntyre, Ben Holmstrom

The case for: If things fall the Checkers way, they can contend with the Stars for the division.

The case against: Past history has shown that things rarely fall the Checkers way.

Media Coverage: Charlotte Observer

Fan Blog: Chasing Checkers

Twitter: @CheckersHockey / Checkers In Game

Facebook: /charlottecheckers

Instagram: checkershockey

Broadcaster: Jason Shaya

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14ia_500

NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild

Record: 27-36-7-6 (67 pts., 5th place Midwest Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Kurt Kleinendorst

Arena: Wells Fargo Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Alaska Aces

Offseason Moves: Brett Sutter, Jordan Schroeder, Joel Rechlicz

The case for: Any improvement this year is a step in the right direction.

The case against: The Wild stunk out the Western Conference last season. While I don’t expect Iowa to replicate that, they aren’t Calder Cup contenders in the least.

Media Coverage: The Des Moines Register

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @iawild / Iowa Wild Live

Facebook: /IAWild

Instagram: iowawild

Broadcaster: Joe O’Donnell

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14okc_500

NHL Affiliation: Edmonton Oilers

Record: 36-29-2-9 (83 pts., 3rd place West Division)

Playoffs: 8 seed — Lost in three games to the Texas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Head Coach: Todd Nelson

Arena: Cox Convention Center

ECHL Affiliation: Bakersfield Condors

Offseason Moves: Jason Williams

The case for: I do think that you can pencil in the Barons as a playoff contender.

The case against: The Barons walk that line of contender / non-contender. A few bad games can tilt the needle the wrong way.

Media Coverage: NewsOK

Fan Blog: Tend the Farm

Twitter: @okcbarons / OKC Barons Gameday

Facebook: /OKCBarons

Instagram: okcbarons

Broadcaster: Jim Byers

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14sa_500

NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers

Record: 30-37-3-6 (69 pts., 5th place West Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Tom Rowe

Arena: AT&T Center

ECHL Affiliation: Cincinnati Cyclones

Offseason Moves: Blake Parlett, Brett Olson

The case for: Well, will they or won’t they? Will the Rampage put it together and challenge the Stars for the division this season?

The case against: You read that and were like, “you’re joking, right?”

Media Coverage: Tony Uminski for MySA

Fan Blog: Runnin’ With the Herd

Twitter: @sarampageSA Rampage Live

Facebook: /sarampagehockey

Instagram: sarampage

Broadcaster: Dan Weiss

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14tex_500

NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars

Record: 48-18-3-7 (106 pts., 1st place West Division)

Playoffs: 1 seed — Won Calder Cup. Defeated the St. John’s IceCaps in five games.

Head Coach: Derek Laxdal

Arena: Cedar Park Center

ECHL Affiliation: Idaho Steelheads

Offseason Moves: Greg Rallo

The case for: It’s tough to repeat as Calder Cup Champions, but the Stars should pick up where they left off last season and run roughshod over the competition this season.

The case against: It’s tough to repeat as Calder Cup Champions. The odds are already against the Stars.

Media Coverage: Stephen Meserve for 100 Degree Hockey

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @TexasStars

Facebook: /TexasStars

Instagram: txstarshockey

Broadcaster: Brien Rea

vs. WBS: Do not play.

Tomorrow we begin the process of examining more familiar opponents. The Atlantic Division is up next tomorrow at noon!

Midwest Division Preview

Regular AHL

Back again on Day One for in the Fifth Annual Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews. If you missed the North Division Preview which posted at midnight, you can click here or at anytime use the handy drop down menu at the top of the blog.

It’s onto the Midwest Division. Like the North, the Penguins don’t play anyone in this division either.

westconf

midwest

The Midwest Division lost the Iowa Wild to the West Division and gained the Lake Erie Monsters from the North Division.

14chi_500

NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues

Record: 45-21-5-5 (100 pts., 1st place Midwest Division)

Playoffs: 2 seed — Lost in four games to the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: John Anderson

Arena: Allstate Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Kalamazoo Wings

Offseason Moves: Mathieu Brodeur, Benn Ferriero, Rob Bordson

The case for: You should expect the Wolves to be contenders again.

The case against: It seems that there is just something about this team that’s missing.

Media Coverage: Chicago Sun-Times

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves / Chicago Wolves Live

Facebook: /chicagowolveshockey

Instagram: chicagowolveshockey

Broadcaster: Jason Shaver

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14gr_500

NHL Affiliation: Detroit Red Wings

Record: 46-23-2-5 (99 pts., 2nd place Midwest Division)

Playoffs: 4 seed — Lost in six games to the Texas Stars in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: Jeff Blashill

Arena: Van Andel Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Toledo Walleye

Offseason Moves: Andy Miele, Kevin Porter

The case for: Griffs will probably be battling with Chicago for the Midwest Division all season.

The case against: Was last years loss to the eventual champion Stars a bump in the road or a changing of the guard?

Media Coverage: Pete Wallner for MLive

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @griffinshockey / Griffins Game Day

Facebook: /grgriffins

Instagram: griffinshockey

Broadcaster: Bob Kaser

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14le_500

NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche

Record: 32-33-1-10 (75 pts., 4th place North Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Dean Chynoweth

Arena: Quicken Loans Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Fort Wayne Komets

Offseason Moves: Zach Redmond, Ben Street

The case for: If Lake Erie can put it all together, they can surprise and contend. Perhaps the new scenery of a division change is what the doctor ordered.

The case against: It’s not hard to name eight playoff contending teams. Is Lake Erie on your list?

Media Coverage: The Plain Dealer

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @monstershockey

Facebook: /monstershockey

Instagram: monstershockey

Broadcaster: Doug Plagens

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14mil_500

NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators

Record: 39-24-6-7 (91 pts., 3rd place Midwest Division)

Playoffs: 6 seed — Lost in three games to the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Head Coach: Dean Evason

Arena: BMO Harris Bradley Center

ECHL Affiliation: Cincinnati Cyclones

Offseason Moves: Triston Grant, Rob Madore

The case for: The thing about Milwaukee is that they are a solid team.

The case against: The thing about Milwaukee is that they aren’t a contending team.

Media Coverage: Dave Boehler for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Fan Blog: Admirals Roundtable

Twitter: @mkeadmirals

Facebook: /mkeadmirals

Instagram: mkeadmirals

Broadcaster: Aaron Sims

vs. WBS: Do not play.

14rfd_500

NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 35-32-5-4 (79 pts., 4th place Midwest Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Ted Dent

Arena: BMO Harris Bank Center

ECHL Affiliation: Indy Fuel

Offseason Moves: Zach Miskovic, Ryan Schnell, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, T.J. Brennan

The case for: So close, but so far for Rockford these past two seasons. Playoff contenders to the final month but missed out in the final moments. Do they put it together this season and make it?

The case against: If I am betting on teams that miss playoffs at the start of the season, first window I run to is Rockford’s.

Media Coverage: Rockford Register Star

Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @goicehogs

Facebook: /RockfordIceHogs

Instagram: rockfordicehogs

Broadcaster: Mike Peck

vs. WBS: Do not play.

We will be back Tuesday at noon to wrap up the Western Conference with the West Division.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,380 other followers