Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview: Thanks for the Fish!

Thanks for following with the blog for another year. Every time I get an inkling that I want to give it up, one of you come up to me from out of no where and thank me for my work that I put into it. So I guess I will keep going for a bit here. It’s appreciated. Especially in a day and age where the beats are long gone and the two papers send, “Staff Report” to every game, which is sad in a way. Where have you gone, Jonathan Bombulie, a valley turns its lonely eyes to you…

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins won’t make the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. They are going to finish last in the Atlantic Division. It’s been an abject failure of a season success wise for the Penguins. I don’t know what you can say on the developmental side. Since I have all this time on my hands now till October, perhaps I’ll give myself a summer writing assignment.

  • Quips on every player that played for the Penguins.
  • A Calder Cup Preview.
  • A revisit of the predictions I made at the start of the season.
  • Whatever offseason changes they make.
  • Whatever offseason signings they make.

I expect a housecleaning. The GMs of both Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre to be fired, coaching staffs from both fired as well and a down to the studs rebuild starting in the front office as soon as this coming Monday.

Does this make them Penguins Stanley and Calder Cup contenders next season? Hardly. Does it stop the plummet from once respected NHL / AHL franchises? Depends on who the new leadership is. Are they capable? How much stock do they put towards developing and winning at the AHL level? That stuff matters. Pittsburgh stinks because they emptied the cache at the expense of winning back to back Stanley Cups, which you do if you can, but did little to restock (hard to when you give away draft picks) and tried to replenish with retreads that fall apart just like the retreads you see on the sides of interstates when the tractor trailers which pound by at 70 mph on a daily basis lose them trying to get to their next destination.

What’s the destination for the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in 2023-24 and beyond? I guess that’s why they tell you to stay tuned.

Now to the matter at hand, a road trip to the playoff bound Hartford Wolf Pack and then a home game Saturday night for a summer send off against the Charlotte Checkers.

Hartford is a team I wouldn’t want to draw in the first round if I’m one of the higher seeded Atlantic Division clubs. I think they are capable of winning a playoff round.

Charlotte is a three seed and if the playoffs started today (the Wednesday afternoon I am writing this and not the Friday morning or whenever you are reading this) the Checkers and Wolf Pack would square off as the 3 seeded Checkers would play the 6 seeded Wolf Pack.

I like Hartford’s chances there. Which doesn’t bode well for the Penguins as the Wolf Pack are still outside contenders for as high as the three seed in the division, if everything breaks their way.

Perhaps I’m discounting the Checkers though, as rarely does a #1 seed run the table (exception being Chicago last season) and win it all, but that battle is out in the Western Conference this season and not here in the East. Charlotte has been a consistent three seed all season. They could surprise, win a few rounds and who knows.

That still doesn’t bode well for the lame duck Penguins, who will probably play a bunch of kids to round out the 72 game season.

Conor O’Donnell and Rob Hennessey run the show up in Hartford this Friday with Kirsten Welsh and Matt Heinen on the lines. For Saturday, Patrick Hanrahan and Jordan Watt make sure they play within the rules and Jud Ritter and J.P. Waleski will make sure they stay on sides.

That bulleted list up top isn’t in order. It’ll probably be a revisit of the predictions, a Calder Cup Preview, a blurb on each player, who got fired, who got hired and who they signed in that order, depending on how the news breaks.

Here’s one final song to play this venture out. I’ll probably have a write up of sorts for you both nights, my niece’s 5th birthday party falls Saturday evening in Nanticoke so I don’t know if I’ll be able to catch my scratch off for a McDonalds small fry and watch other folks I never heard of win player jerseys who won’t be around next season in person which sucks, but it’s my niece and family first. Thanks again for reading, I’ll have some content for you here on the blog during the offseason and Let’s Go Pens!

One response to “Weekend Preview: Thanks for the Fish!

  1. jack omara April 13, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks for all your hard and thoughtful work on your blog all season. You always tell it like it is and I appreciate it. Have some fun at the birthday party. I’ll let you know if I win a Jersey!

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