Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Wheeling Enforcements

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.

Dea, Archibald and Ruopp Reassigned Monday

I wanted the Week 20 AHL Power Rankings to get the views yesterday so I am running this old news this morning. Yesterday afternoon the Penguins announced the recalls of forwards Josh Archibald, J-S Dea and defenseman Harrison Ruopp.

I get the recalls of Archibald and Dea. There were no healthy scratches for the Penguins Sunday in their 4-1 win over Hartford. Bryan Rust and Bobby Farnham left with injuries this weekend. Nick Drazenovic is still technically “week to week” also. So their recalls make sense. What I don’t get is the recall of Harrison Ruopp. The Penguins have seven defensemen (Chorney, Dumoulin, McNeill, Harrington, D’Agostino, Goers and Boak) on their roster. Ruopp gives them eight. Unless someone was banged up Sunday in Hartford (I didn’t notice anyone) or there is a body heading back to Wheeling (Boak? D’Agostino?) or perhaps a trade, this move baffles me. Who knows.

The Penguins cancelled practice scheduled for today, so any updates regarding the moves or the statuses of Farnham, Rust and Drazenovic will need to wait till Wednesday.

How have Dea and Archibald done in Wheeling? I’d say pretty good. They sent Archibald down to Wheeling to regain his scoring touch. In a 4-1 Nailers win in Kalamazoo Sunday, Archibald had a hat trick and an assist. Overall, he was 6-4-10 in eight games. Dea was a respectable 2-1-3 in eight games.

Nothing yet from Springfield regarding supplemental discipline on the unpenalized Dylan McIlrath hit on Farnham by the way. There may not be anything. I defer to the AHL to render a decision in this regard. It’s not worth getting worked up over it really. They either suspend him or they don’t. If they do, I’ll have a follow-up blog later.

Scoreboard Watching…

The Penguins have been off since Tuesday’s 4-0 win against Springfield. They have played the most games among the top teams in the Eastern Conference (47) so they are letting everyone catch up with them. Here’s what happened as we head to Saturday….

— Wednesday night —

Some games of interest starting on Wednesday. All benefitted the Penguins.

ALB      1
button_14mch200      4

The Devils were a point off the Penguins with a game in hand Wednesday. They burned that game in hand in Manchester and lost 4-1. The Monarchs got a got from Brad Richards who recently cleared waivers and was assigned to the Monarchs.

button_hfd200     2
SYR     3

Hartford and Syracuse are two teams with three games in hand on Wilkes-Barre coming into Wednesday. The Crunch were hurt by injuries coming into the game, had three more players get hurt but manage a 3-2 win against the Hartford Wolf Pack.

WOR     4
button_lv200     3

Two more teams with three games in hand played in Allentown Wednesday. The Sharks beat the Phantoms 4-3. Even if the Phantoms won all three of their games in hand they still would be behind the Penguins but it was a game worth watching with the way that the Phantoms dealt with the Pens Saturday night.

There was also some ECHL action of interest Wednesday.

WHL     1
REA     2

The Nailers received reinforcements in the form of J-S Dea, Josh Archibald and Eric Hartzell Wednesday afternoon.. Hartznell started in goal for the Nailers Wednesday in Reading and opposed ECHL Goaltender of the Week Connor Knapp and lost 2-1 in controversial fashion as a goal with 15.9 seconds left in the third period was disallowed. There is no replay in the ECHL and the call was overturned, somehow. The Royals won their eighth game in a row.

So that was Wednesday.

— Friday Night —

POR     8
STJ     1

Portland blitzkrieged St. John’s tonight on The Rock and won 8-1. Every skater registered at least a point except for Cory Trivino. Even goaltender Mike McKenna notched an assist, his fourth of the season. That Pirates win bumps the Penguins down to ____ and draws the Pirates even with the Penguins in games played.

ALB     1
button_spr200     4

Those pesky Devils lost to Springfield tonight 4-1. Really a golden opportunity lost for Albany to insulate themselves as playoff contenders in mid February. Instead they are on the outside looking in after the dust settles tonight.

HER     3
BNG     2

The Bears burned off one of their three games in hand in Binghamton tonight and made it count with a 3-2 win in Binghamton. Ex-Penguin Chris Conner had two goals. Hershey is 7-0-0-1 in their last eight games and are four points ahead of the Penguins with two games in hand.

WOR     0
NOR     3

A team that should be on your radar is the Worcester Sharks. The Sharks were a playoff team coming into tonight and have two games in hand on the Penguins. They burned off one of those games tonight in Norfolk but ran into John Gibson and the Admirals and lost 3-0. Gibson had a 36 save shutout.

TOL     1
WHL     4

I always like keeping tabs on Wheeling, and now with ECHL.TV I am able to. Anyway, I had the Nailers on the side monitor tonight as they took on North Division leader Toledo. They won 4-1. Eric Hartzell backed up tonight, J-S Dea and Josh Archibald had are down on assignment. Archibald picked up an assist. Both had three shots. Big win for Wheeling. Toledo only lost seven games in regulation coming into tonight.

Eastern Conference standings look like this on Friday:

1) SYR (64) 2) MCH (62) 3) HER (58) 4) SPR (58) 5) HFD (57) 6) POR (55) 7) WBS (54) 8) WOR (53)

Gameday for tomorrow night’s tilt vs. Hershey in Hershey hits the blog tomorrow at 3 p.m.

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.

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….


Games Played



This Weekend





@ WOR 1/17
@ PRO 1/18





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





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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