Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Penguins close out 2022 with a home game against the Providence Bruins and then head to Allentown Saturday for New Years Eve.

Music to set the mood…

From me and the cats, Happy New Year to you and yours. Thanks for making the blog a part of your every day. I appreciate it. May 2023 get you everything you are looking for and more.

A Quote…

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.
J.P. Morgan

Pens want more than their 31 points and their fifth place showing in the Atlantic at present. It’s time to make a move so it’s time to go.

The Setup

A not so good trip to Canada and a postponed game because of weather last week. Pens lost straight up to Toronto and Belleville and the Laval game was postponed. A close game with Hershey this past Tuesday. Now, finally shifting away from the Bears and focusing on Providence and a resurging Lehigh Valley team.

Bruins are the second best team in the AHL (Hershey is the first) and Lehigh Valley is nipping at the Penguins heels, tied with them with 31 points.

Providence was in Hershey Wednesday and lost 1-0 in a shutout. Lehigh Valley played a run and gun with the Bridgeport Islanders on Wednesday and won 6-5 in a shootout. Islanders scored late to tie it.


Providence is 16-6-5-2, good for 31 points and second in the Atlantic. Lehigh Valley is 14-11-2-1 and have the same 31 points as the Penguins with a 13-8-2-3 record. Pens are 5th, Phantoms are 6th.

Who’s Up? Who’s Down? Who’s Out?

Boy, a lot has changed. Drew O’Connor and Mark Friedman remain up and Drake Caggiula and Ty Smith joined them this week. No one is in Wheeling because the Nailers saw Taylor Gauthier and Josh Maniscalco get called up this week. Filip Lindberg left the game before a faceoff in the Belleville game, and Kyle Olson was announced this week as being out week to week, same as Lindberg.

So it’s walking wounded again. Not going to complain because you should be used to it by now. If you are tired of it, don’t renew. It is what it is.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

Providence always plays the Penguins tougher. I’d rather watch three straight against Hershey then one against Providence because it is always a battle with the P-Bruins. The Bruins are the bellweather for a lot of teams to see how good they really are.

I think the Bruins are better than the Bears, if that means anything.

Lehigh Valley has appeared to figure things out, but remain horribly inconsistent. Bridgeport is in third somehow in the Atlantic, 1-7-1-1 in their last ten, and the Phantoms are playing run and gun with a team they should have no business playing run and gun with.

Then there are the Penguins who, when healthy, are slightly above average at best. Drew O’Connor is in Pittsburgh and isn’t going to be around to score two goals every night and dish three assists. Drake Caggiula is a good role player who will just fill a press box seat in Pittsburgh for however long he’s up for, so the Penguins have to figure out the scoring.

Who’s in goal?

I’d go Tokarski tonight against Providence and Gauthier Saturday in Allentown. You might see Keith Kinkaid for the Bruins, saving Brandon Bussi for tomorrow night in Hershey again. Lehigh Valley is in Utica Friday. You may see Nolan Maier, who played in that offensively potent display Wednesday at home against the Islanders.

Who is running the show?

I think it’s in Terry Koharski’s contract that he sees every teams home ice at least once every season. He dropped the first puck when Coachella Valley opened it’s place up a few weeks ago, has been in Texas, Massachusetts and elsewhere. He will be in town tonight with Michael Zyla with Jud Ritter and Ryan Knapp on the lines. Saturday sees Rob Hennessey and Adam Tobias (ex-linesman) with Patrick Dapuzzo and Trevor Disbennett on the lines.

Looking ahead…

A pair of home games against Charlotte on Wednesday and Friday then Hartford stops in next Saturday.

Give us a bold prediction…

They get a point out of Providence and beat Lehigh Valley clean.

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