Had to do a double take there on the date. Is it really February 1st already?
Anyway, a couple things to note on here a few hours from the AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse.
The West beat the East 19-14 in the skills competition last night. Tied 9-9 in the second to last event, the West won the breakaway relay by a score of 10-5. Penguins defenseman Will O’Neill participated in three events.
This morning, Dave Andrews met with the media here and held his annual State of the AHL. I’m still working on raw audio and thought about different ways to summarize everything here on the blog but found Sean Shapiro from Wrong Side of the Red Line in Austin, TX already did a fantastic job in summarizing the event.
Essentially Andrews hit on a few different things. First was balancing the schedule. California teams play 68 games and everyone else plays 76. You are going to see that again next year and probably the foreseeable future unless you convince teams to play less games which the independently owned teams in Hershey and Chicago won’t go for.
Second was the two referee system. It’s coming. The biggest problem now is that the League doesn’t have enough qualified guys to work a game.
Third is the way that playoffs are dictated financially. Basically the ticket deals that your team gives you during the season is taken away if your team qualifies for playoffs. That’s not on the team, that’s the AHL telling them what to do. That’s going away.
There were other small things like on ice time. All teams track it but the NHL teams don’t want it made public because of confidentiality on how a certain prospect is being used. I don’t know why they would try to hide that, honestly. Games are easily available online and anyone with a stopwatch and a piece of paper can manufacture how much time a certain player is getting.
Also, the dry scrape is sticking around. Lots of fans don’t like it because it kills momentum, but some buildings are more suited to do it the way the NHL buildings do it and others aren’t. So to make it fair for everyone they dry scrape the ice.
Same divisions and parent clubs for next year too. I think that may be the first time in a while that nothing would change from one year to the other.
There was some Pittsburgh news that had an affect on Wilkes-Barre today.
First, the news that Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson are back with Pittsburgh after the parent Penguins come off of NHL All-Star break. That was to be expected. Chris Kunitz did not participate in practice today, so recalling both makes sense. The Pens play the Ottawa Senators Tuesday.
The other news today was that Tom Sestito was signed by the Penguins to an NHL contract. He will be on waivers until noon Tuesday and if no one claims him, he will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre.
More later after the games tonight. The Atlantic Division plays the Central Division in the second game of the night, the Pacific Division in the fourth and the North in the sixth and final game of the night before the championship game. Game is local on My Network TV or on Root Sports Pittsburgh tonight at 7.