Chirps from Center Ice

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

Time to Panik – Pens LOSE 2-1

My other headline was going to be, “December to Remember?” – but I think I like this one better.

What a horrible month of December for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

After a 5-3 win on December 1 vs. the St. John’s IceCaps, the Penguins were in second place in the division. Here’s how the the East Division shook out when it was all said and done on December 1: Syracuse 28 — Penguins 26 — Binghamton 24 — Hershey 19 — Norfolk 16

They also sat fourth overall in the conference, the best of the best not a division leader.

Then, a 5-4 overtime loss to Hershey. Up 3-0 vs. Portland and they lose in a shootout. Then the Zatkoff injury. A bad loss to the last place at the time Albany Devils 6-3. A 3-1 loss to Binghamton on my birthday. A 4-0 shutout loss to Syracuse. Then the implosion on the Southern Tier when they are up 3-0 to Binghamton to start the third and ultimately lose 4-3. They finally break the funk and win in Syracuse 3-2 to get John Hynes the coaching record. Then, shutout in Hershey 2-0 on Boxing Day, then the next night utterly dominated by the Bears on home ice 4-1. Then the OT loss to Norfolk 3-2 on Saturday night then finally tonight a 2-1 loss to the Syracuse Crunch.

December 2012 will go down 2-7-2-1 for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

The talk of “we will figure it out” or “there are guys with a lot of pride who are very talented in this room” or “we aren’t worried about this” have gone stale. Something has to give.

You can’t win a Calder Cup in December, but you sure may lose out on the chance to compete for one in December if you let things slip away.

Brad Thiessen opposed Dustin Tokarski tonight. Beau Bennett returned from injury. Benn Ferriero was scratched. He’s been playing poorly. That scratch is justified. Dylan Reese was scratched too. That’s a few games now. Something is up there.

Thiessen kept the Pens in it in the first period with some sharp saves on Syracuse’s gunners. Same held for the second period, but the run support just was not there. Richard Panik gets sprung on a mini-breakaway and scores with Joey Mormina hooking him. Then, Panik scores in the opening minutes of the third period while the Crunch were on a power play to make it 2-0. Trevor Smith would score with :01 in the third period left to spoil Tokarski’s shutout bid. Ballgame.

I’m going to look up the last time the Penguins scored a shorthanded goal.I’ll probably tweet it out later. Edit: Benn Ferriero November 21 in Hershey, a 4-0 win. The only one of the season. The power play in the third period looked terrible. People were booing. Myself included. I try to stay above the noise and not troll or go to negative town just for the sake of or because I like to, but the Penguins right now just are not making smart decisions with the puck and are just playing sloppy, sloppy hockey. It’s really awful to watch.

Things don’t get better for the Pens as they are in Binghamton on Friday. I hope that a weeks worth of practice fixes what is ailing the team right now.

Divisionally, Norfolk and Hershey were off. Binghamton hosted the St. John’s IceCaps and won 4-2. This means that B-Sens head coach Luke Richardson will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars January in Providence as he’s the coach at December 31 in the Eastern Conference with the best winning percentage.

Standings look like this: Syracuse 45 — Binghamton 41 — Hershey 34 — Penguins 31 — Norfolk 29.

Conference is as follows: 1) Syracuse (45) 2) Springfield (39) 3) Portland (38) 4) Binghamton (41) 5) Worcester (37) 6) Bridgeport (37) 7) Providence (34) 8) Hershey (34) 10) Wilkes-Barre (31)

SendToNews Highlights are here.

Wheeling lost to the Elmira Jackals at home 3-2. Andrew Hotham had a goal and Carl Sneep an assist for the Nailers in the loss.

Want to thank the people who read this blog. WordPress sent me the end of year report and the blog has been seen 36,000+ times just in 2012 alone. I am close to 100,000 views all time. I am not Jonathan Bombulie, nor do I want to be, but thank you, thank you, thank you for reading what I put up here. I strive to do the best that I can and be the best at it and bring you information relative to the Penguins and the American Hockey League in general from a fan perspective. I really appreciate all the compliments I get as someone who doesn’t have a journalism degree and someone who pushes paper for a living that people actually: a) read my blog b) enjoy reading my blog c) recommend my blog to others. I can’t thank you guys enough. Here’s to a great 2013!

Let’s Go Pens!

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