Chirps from Center Ice

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

Second One Re-Signed — McGrath is Back

I really haven’t had much of anything to blog about since the last time I blogged in mid-May. To catch you up, here are eight things that have happened and below my takes on each….

1) Syracuse beat Providence in five games to advance to the Calder Cup Finals to face Grand Rapids, who did the same to San Jose in five games.

2) Grand Rapids leads Syracuse 2-0 in their best of seven as the series shifts to Syracuse for Game 3 Wednesday night.

3) You can stream the Calder Cup Finals for free on AHL Live by selecting the finals package and using the promo code “FINALS17”

4) Pittsburgh is tied 2-2 with Nashville in the Stanley Cup Finals with the series shifting back to Pittsburgh for a pivotal Game 5 on Thursday.

5) Doug Davidson and Kyle Moore are headed to Las Vegas. Moore served as a trainer and Davidson as strength and conditioning coach here in Wilkes-Barre.

6) Jason Botterhill is the new General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres. He had previously worked for Pittsburgh as an assistant general manager and had a hand in building the roster here in Wilkes-Barre.

7) Seth Lakso is returning to New England to continue his education. Tyler Picotti is the new Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins beat writer for the The Citizens’ Voice.

8) Finally, Patrick McGrath is back, having re-signed with the Penguins in June 7.

Analysis

1) Providence went through the meat grinder known as the Atlantic Division to get to the conference finals and didn’t have an answer to what Syracuse, who was tops in their division all season, brought to the table. The result was not surprising in hindsight. Makes me wonder if Wilkes-Barre, Hershey or Leigh Valley would have suffered the same fate.

2) Grand Rapids has been elite all season and has only lost twice in the postseason. It isn’t surprising to see them leading the Crunch like this. I picked them in six over Syracuse, but it could easily end in a sweep, or five games. Crunch desperately need a win Wednesday night.

3) Second highest hockey league in the world and they are relegated to giving away their games on the internet instead of being able to line up a broadcast partner. With that said, I fully realize that putting games on TV is easier said than done. However, everyone in Springfield and around the league gets upset when their league is passed over by a national audience, but it’s kind of hard to be taken seriously as a league when viewing said league is next to impossible for the casual fan.

4) The home team has won every game so far, with Pittsburgh and Nashville defending home ice. It isn’t a series until the home team loses.

5) The AHL develops much more than just players and coaches.

6) If you are thinking that losing Botterhill is going to be a big problem, don’t. I am not insinuating guys like him are a dime a dozen, but whoever Pittsburgh names as a replacement will be highly qualified to carry on the mission Botterhill created. Also, expect the list of candidates to be long as Wilkes-Barre is seen as a premier destination in the hockey world.

7) Seth admirably filled Jonathan Bombulie’s shoes and from what I have seen so far from Tyler, I am confident he will do the same.

8) No brainer for both involved. McGrath wasn’t going to sign any place else and get buried and forgotten about and Wilkes-Barre gets to boast home grown talent for another season.

I am going to wait until the end of the Stanley Cup Finals to put out the Offseason Moves Chart. I am also going to get an early jump on the Offseason AHL Big Board. If you want to volunteer to help, please contact me.

Now, back to summer.

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