Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview: Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

Wait a minute, you lose two games after that hot start in October and it’s all despair here at the blog?

Not exactly, but the way that they lost, almost won but still lost last week in two games after looking invincible in October was a shock. Plus this fanbase is a fickle bunch, so I like to play to those strengths.

The headline also lets me run straight into this…

Music to set the mood…

You are always going to get me to find a classic banger like this.

OK. So maayyybe I am being a bit overdramatic by asking the question. But a close game Saturday, ineffectiveness on the power play, your captain losing a man in front leading to a goal rolling into a 4-0 hole after the second period Sunday only to storm back to 4-3 and drop two straight against Hershey is a bit disheartening because it’s the Bears.

Things to work on for sure that you hope they worked on this week at practice.

A Quote…

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
– Frederick Douglass

Remember how last week I said that we wouldn’t really be able to learn anymore about the Penguins unless or until they started hitting adversity? Well, I think we will learn a lot about the team this weekend. Read on.

The Setup…

Pair of home games Friday and Saturday against Hartford and Springfield, respectively. Hartford gave up five goals against Springfield last Friday and five more against Bridgeport last Saturday. The Wolf Pack hosted Springfield on this past Wednesday and held the Thunderbirds to just a goal and beat them 2-1 in a shootout.

After beating Hartford last Friday, Springfield hosted Providence last Saturday and lost 3-2. I gave you their most recent result in the paragraph above. They will be in Allentown Friday before heading up Saturday against the Pens.


Wilkes-Barre is 6-2-1-0 good for 13 points and 3rd in the division. Springfield coming into Friday is 5-4-0-2 good for 6th with 12 points and Hartford is 7th with a 3-4-1-1 record and 8 points.

Who’s Up? Who’s Down? Who’s Out?

Note: This space may need to be updated depending on who, if anyone Pittsburgh recalls on the defensive end. They lost P-O Joseph and Jan Rutta Wednesday in Washington. If it isn’t I will drop a blurb under the Lineup discussion in the postgamer later against Hartford.

Edit: As soon as this post went up at 11 a.m., Pittsburgh announced they have recalled D Mark Friedman and sent back F Sam Poulin.

Drew O’Connor is back down, replacing him up to Pittsburgh was Filip Hallander. Sam Poulin remains up. Mitch Reinke and Jordan Frasca have company amongst the infirmed with Jamie Devane being re-added to the injury list, getting hurt on his first shift on Saturday against Hershey. As a result, Sean Josling was recalled from the Nailers Friday morning.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

How do they bounce back and look more prepared against two tough opponents again this week. Hartford should be (at least hypothetically) be the easier of the two opponents but again, I did project the Wolf Pack as an early Calder Cup favorite back a month ago when I did my season predictions.

You wish you could bottle up the third period in Hershey performance when they nearly erased a four goal deficit against Hershey and replicate it. I think you will see a more prepared team on both nights against the Wolf Pack and Thunderbirds.

Do I expect two more losses? No. The team is too talented and too well coached to lay two duds like they did against the Bears. Now, if the personnel is careless and sleepwalk through shifts, it is entirely plausible. But I don’t see that happening.

The adversity is here, as mentioned above, in micro form. Button up the issues which caused you to lose (very minor in my opinion) and reap the rewards of the time you put in righting those wrongs.

Who’s in goal? 

No reason to change course here. Dustin Tokarski will get a game (probably Saturday) and Filip Lindberg will get a game (probably Friday) – expect Louis Domingue for Hartford Friday and Joel Hofer for the Thunderbirds.

Who’s running the show?

Morgan MacPhee and Marc-Olivier Phaneuf have the Friday assignment with Trevor Disbennett and Patrick Dapuzzo on the lines. Saturday sees the same referee crew with John Rey and Spencer Knox coming in to work the lines.

Remarkable. 81 referees under contract to the American Hockey League this season and we see the same pairing on back to back nights. Real original.

Looking ahead…

May have to double this one up. Friday game against Hershey, Saturday trip to Bridgeport which should be a nice measuring stick game against a good Islanders team and then a Monday / Wednesday pair in Charlotte before Thanksgiving.

Give us a bold prediction…

Back on track with a pair of wins this week. Pens work overtime in one of them but come away with all four points.

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