Bunch of stuff to get to today, so let’s get after it.
Here is a recap of Sunday afternoon’s action…
Bridgeport beats Utica in overtime 5-4. Pens have two games in hand and see the Sound Tigers two more times.
Providence shuts out what was a rested Syracuse team 4-0. Pens and Bruins are even on games played with 50. They meet three more times.
Lehigh Valley beats Hartford 5-2. That’s a split with the Wolf Pack this weekend. Wilkes-Barre and Lehigh Valley are on same games played and play six more times.
Hershey keeps winning, sweeping Charlotte with a 2-1 win Sunday. That is points in 12 straight for the Bears. Hershey has a game in hand on the Pens and these teams meet just three more times, with one of those games this Wednesday in Hershey.
Wilkes-Barre has three more games with Springfield and two more with Hartford.
Here is a look at the standings through Sunday night:
Lehigh Valley 57
So a lot of catching up to do but room to improve with six more matchups with Lehigh Valley. I have a feeling that just one Pennsylvania team is going to make playoffs. No one is going to catch Charlotte and even if they do, I can’t see them falling out of contention entirely. Bridgeport looks OK for now and Providence just had a twelve point run snapped on Saturday, they are good. So it’s really down to Wilkes-Barre, Hershey and Lehigh Valley for the final spot in the playoffs. I don’t see Springfield recovering and you can stick a fork in Hartford.
Monday, some news came out. Troy Josephs was released from his contract to head overseas. He’s the second such Penguins prospect (Freddie Tiffels at the beginning of the season) to bolt overseas. Josephs was more than a point a game player and one of the best players for the Wheeling Nailers.
Josephs had just three assists in 11 contests for the Pens this season. I think that he was long overdue a shot at AHL work given the fact that Wilkes-Barre has an unproductive veteran overage. Surely Josephs could produce at or better than some of the bottom six forwards that Clark Donatelli puts out on a nightly basis? Ask yourself this, Cam Brown has seemed to carve a nice niche here in Wilkes-Barre. No knock against him intended, but I were to ask you at the start of the season who would stick in the AHL between Brown and Josephs, most of you pick Josephs. Is is coachability? Attitude? Something else I am missing?
That, with Freddie Tiffels bolting before the season really got going, doesn’t set the best look.
I am not ready to have discussions over a debate about coaching vs. general manager yet. I will say this, there is a price that the Pittsburgh Penguins paid to win back to back Stanley Cups. It is starting to slowly erode and the first place it is felt is through the minor league system.
And there is nothing wrong with that per se, provided it pays off for you and it has mightily for the Penguins in the last three seasons.
One other piece of news for this Monday, in the form of a trade!
The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired right handed defenseman Blake Siebenaler from the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday for a conditional seventh round pick. Siebenaler will report to Wilkes-Barre. He has 17 games played this season for the Cleveland Monsters with a goal and an assist and a -11 rating. Professionally, Siebenaler is a -31 in three seasons for Cleveland with a total of seven goals, seven assists, including this season. He’s been injured for the Monsters and Cleveland hasn’t been the best AHL team overall in the last three years since winning the Calder Cup in 2015-16, so maybe a change in scenery will do well for him.
Scouting reports based off of what I have seen on Twitter include the following:
I also saw on Twitter that Siebenaler was a fan favorite in Cleveland and a very passionate player. He has a very hard shot from the blue line also.
The condition on the pick? Siebenaler would have to play in 10 NHL games for Pittsburgh and Columbus would get a seventh round pick from Pittsburgh. That probably isn’t happening, so it’s a contract dump for Columbus and some help for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton, however I would be the first to admit that the Penguins biggest problem isn’t keeping pucks out of their net as much as it is depositing them into the nets of the opponents.
So there you have it. Back here on Wednesday with the Gameday setup against Hershey.