Chirps from Center Ice

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

Hasn’t Even Started Yet But It’s Started


Color me shocked that Pittsburgh was pristinely specific about type of injury (hand fracture) and estimated length of disability (3-6 weeks) here. I applaud them and hope that the specifics as to injuries and disability length continue. “Upper / Lower” body injury and status day / week / month to whatever is a terrible and horribly archaic way of describing why your player is not on the ice. 

Seth with more here including the battle brewing now between Tristan Jarry and Leland Irving for the backup role to Marc-Andre Fluery. 

Remember that Casey DeSmith is on an AHL deal and isn’t in the mix. 

Pittsburgh preseason games start this week. 

Veterans Lurking — Pittsburgh Announces Training Camp Roster

The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday their training camp roster. A robust 60 names. Of those names, there are two names invited at one position that jump out.

It’s in goal.

Beyond the standard names like Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith, the Pittsburgh Penguins also extended invitations to goaltenders Doug Carr and Leland Irving.

Carr is already signed to an ECHL deal with the Wheeling Nailers. He was with Adirondack of the ECHL last year and played three games with Albany last year.

Leland Irving was a former first round draft pick with Calgary, had some success in Abbotsford, the AHL affiliate of the Flames at the time. Last year, he played for a terrible Iowa Wild team and only won 12 games in 41 games played. Those 12 wins led the Wild, so it speaks to how god awful the Wild were last year, finishing dead last in the AHL last season.

I would be perfectly fine with Jarry as the number one goaltender here in Wilkes-Barre with DeSmith taking some of the starts as well with Carr down in Wheeling working with Sean Maguire, who surprisingly was not invited to Penguins camp. But the braintrust doesn’t see it like that. If either Fleury or Murray go down with injury or a spot illness necessitating a call-up from Wilkes-Barre, they aren’t willing to take the risk of Tristan Jarry being that guy quite yet.

In other news, Coal Street announced a promo schedule you can check out here.

I’ll have my AHL Previews at the ready again this season. I am about halfway done and want to finish out the main build this weekend and start bringing stuff over to the blog within the next two weeks in time for Opening Week in the AHL.

Blog of the Year Nomination

The fine folks that coordinate the NEPA BlogCon are handing out their yearly Blog of the Year Awards. 

This blog, Chirps from Center Ice, was nominated again. First, I’d like to thank you for nominating the blog again. I don’t nominate myself. 

Click here to be brought to the voting page. There are other categories to vote on also. Chirps from Center Ice is under the, “Best Sports Blog” category. 

Thank you.

Roster Slowly Taking Shape – Pens Sign Ryan Haggerty

Sort of out of the blue Thursday afternoon was the announcement that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins signed forward Ryan Haggerty to an AHL deal for the 2016-17 season.

Haggerty, an RPI product, will be entering his third year as a professional. He played 36 games for the Rockford IceHogs last year before going down with an injury. He had one playoff game with the IceHogs, who were swept in the first round by the eventual champion Lake Erie, now Cleveland Monsters.

Prior to playing with Rockford, Haggerty played all 76 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack two seasons ago. He was 9-4-13 last season with Rockford and 15-18-33 with Hartford two seasons ago.

Seth dug up the following:

I did not have Haggerty listed in the Top 100 on the AHL Big Board project from this past summer. He was a restricted free agent not tendered a qualifying offer.

I think the change of scenery will be good for a player of Haggerty’s caliber. Think about it. A durable player that played all 76 games for Hartford gets moved to Rockford, gets injured and not tendered a qualifying offer. He could have bolted overseas. He chose to stay in North America and come to Wilkes-Barre and will most likely be a key player this upcoming season.

Time will tell. I have updated my Offseason Moves List.

Last Weekend of August

Couple things to touch on as we have our AHL schedule and are looking forward to September, kids going back to school, and hockey season getting going in about 50 days….

Pittsburgh announced rosters for the annual rookie tournament in London, Ontario in mid-September. Seth did a blog post highlighting players to watch. Jonathan offered a piece where he wrote capsules on all the players.

Ty Loney signed with Adirondack of the ECHL Thursday. I have updated the 2016 Offseason Moves list.

I took a look at that list. The unsigned players that remain are Harrison Ruopp and Dan O’Donoghue (who were RFA’s that were not tendered offers by the Penguins) and Tyler Biggs, Brian Foster and Ryan Parent.

The only other thing going on right now as a preview of sorts is the summertime Penguins Podcast with Nick Hart and Mike O’Brien. The duo are previewing the divisional opponents. They touched on how the Lehigh Valley Phantoms stack up. They give their predictions on if they see the Phantoms as a playoff team. The answers they give may surprise some, as it surprised me. The total podcast time is about 20 minutes, so it’s good to listen to at work, the gym or on the way home or maybe outside having a cigar or in the pool. They plan on rolling these out once a week to the start of the AHL season. Should make for some good listening.

Man, Labor Day weekend is next weekend. Where did this summer go?


2016-17 AHL Schedule Released

Time to whip out the planners and block off time from work, the 2016-17 AHL Schedule is here!

As tradition here on the blog, with the release of the schedule, comes a question and answer session. I answer all the pertinent questions regarding the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins playing schedule.

So here you go….

Question 1: Who do the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins play first this season?

Answer: That would be the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday October 15, the Penguins home opener.

Question 2: Any Western Conference flavor on the menu this year?

Answer: LOL, no. All Eastern Conference teams again this year.

Question 3: What does the divisional breakdown look like against Bridgeport, Hartford, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Providence and Springfield?

Answer: 12 games against Lehigh Valley and Hershey, Six against Springfield, Bridgeport and Providence and eight against Hartford. Split home and away.

Question 4: What is the longest road trip? What about home stand?

Answer: Longest road trip of the season for the Penguins is two separate seven dates in a row away from the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. January 8 through the 2oth, then again in February, from the 17th to March 5th.

The longest home stand for the Penguins is six straight home dates in February, from February 3 to the 14.

Question 5: What about the remainder of the schedule?

The remainder of the schedule breakdown for the Penguins against in-Conference, non-divisional opponents is as follows; six games against Binghamton and Syracuse, four against Utica and St. John’s and two against Toronto, Albany and Rochester, all split home and away.

Question 6: How many three games in three nights?

Answer: Last year the Penguins had eight. This year, the Penguins have the same amount, including three straight weekends of three in three action at the end of the season from March 24 to April 9, 2017.

Question 7: I am a visual learner. Show me a chart of daily and monthly breakdowns.

Answer: Here you go.

Home Road Total
Monday 0 2 2
Tuesday 4 0 4
Wednesday 5 5 10
Thursday 0 0 0
Friday 12 10 22
Saturday 14 12 26
Sunday 3 9 12

And the Monthly…

Home Road Total
October 5 2 7
November 5 7 12
December 6 6 12
January 5 9 14
February 6 5 11
March 6 6 12
April 5 3 8

Question 8: Any kids games?

Answer: Kids games are by definition games that start in the morning. The Penguins don’t have any morning start games. The earliest the Penguins play a game is 1 p.m. on Martin Luther King Day which is Monday, January 16, 2017 up in Syracuse.

Question 9: Where is the All-Star Classic at again this season?

Answer: Not far away, actually. The League announced a couple of months ago that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms would be the host city for this season. The event will take place January 28 through January 30, 2017 down at PPL Center.

Question 10: Are the Penguins playing in any special venues this season?

Answer: No. All home games will be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena or the home arena of the opponent.

Question 11: What is the Penguins theme this season?

Answer: Live for the Moment. You can click here to be taken to a page where you may download the schedule onto your mobile device.

Question 12: Anything else I need to know?

Answer: Penguins are really pushing the Tuesday games in an effort to bust up the three in three. Whether or not Tuesday evening home games will be a big draw or not remains to be seen. Also, the massive amount of Friday and Saturday home games (26 in total) is a real push to get people in seats.

Pens play their New Years Eve game on the road this season up in Binghamton, a 6:05 p.m. start up there.

There are nine days this season on which all 30 AHL teams are in action: Sat., Nov. 12; Sat., Nov. 26; Sat., Dec. 3; Sat., Jan. 7; Fri., Jan. 13; Sat., Jan. 28; Fri., Mar. 17; Sat., Mar. 18; and Fri., Apr. 14.

Won’t be long now! I can start my previews for all 30 teams and look for schedule boxes on the left hand sude of the blog to start rolling out, perhaps as soon as this week with the next three games for Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh and Wheeling!

Schedule Coming…

Back later to find out how many times the Penguins play the Bears, Phantoms, and every one else in the division and conference and the annual gripe about not having any Western Conference teams on the the schedule.