Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Just Rambling

The Pack is Back Together

Just a few notes on the eve of Game 3…

— No idea who is starting in goal for Game 3 Wednesday for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. It’s a good problem to have really, when you have two Class A goaltenders to choose from. If I am Coach Hynes, I give the net to Brad Thiessen until Jeff Zatkoff gives me a reason to give it back to him. Providence scored 12 goals on Zatkoff. Say what you want about the situation, but the Penguins played a much calmer and overall better game in front of Thiessen in the second and third period. And oh, by the way, Thiessen didn’t allow a goal in 40 minutes played.

No suspension for Warren Peters for his hit on Zach Trotman in Game 2.

Dylan Reese will not be available for Game 3 tomorrow. He skated Tuesday but won’t tomorrow night at seven.

— Boston recalled D Torey Krug today. This leaves Providence with 5 defensemen. The issue that the Penguins have had in the series hasn’t been anything on the Providence blue line. It’s been Chris Bourque and the deadly Providence power play. The P-Bruins could have rolled out an ECHL blueline and still likely would have won Games 1 and 2.

Elsewhere outside of this series…

— The Hartford Wolf Pack are back. I don’t know why they switched from the Connecticut Whale to Wolf Pack midseason a few seasons ago. Seemed silly to me.

— The Vancouver Canucks, who bought the Peoria Rivermen franchise, will not skate a team full of prospects next season. That means that the Canucks prospects will be spread out all over the AHL next year and the league will retract back to 29 teams unless a last second Hail Mary is called.

— The aforementioned Peoria Rivermen are apparently taking the elevator down three levels to a league called the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) with a team from the Central Hockey League (CHL) named the Bloomington Blaze. I know minor league team movement doesn’t interest nearly as many people as it does interest me, but there is a lot of movement below the AHL in the ECHL possibly gaining two if not three teams and the SPHL expanding and the CHL drying up completely.

Back to this P-Bruins / Penguins series finally, and an op-ed piece from yours truly. We have come way too far in the last couple of seasons for this to be the end of things for a fourteenth season. The summit is not and should not be second round of playoffs and out year after year after year. I am not going to Game 3 tomorrow expecting to lose. I am not going to Game 4 Friday to attend a funeral. This series has to be won on the road. Flashback to July last year and the boatload of talent signed by Pittsburgh earmarked for Wilkes-Barre in the Fall. This team here in the middle of May is still that same team, only better with additions of Derek Nesbitt and Chad Kolarik. We are not out of this series yet. We can, and I expect to win this series in either six or seven games.

Gameday for Game 3 will be here Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

All in.

Saturday Brunch

Watching the snow fall out my window and took to Twitter and tore into some numbers into the Penguins losing streak. I want to set a benchmark when things get better / get worse, so here’s this offering for you:

In nine games since December 7, the Penguins are 2-6-1-1 and have been outscored 34-18.

Dylan Reese, Zach Sill, Dom Uher, Alex Grant, Steve MacIntyre have appeared in at least one of the last nine games and have no points. Sill, Uher and MacIntyre are not asked to score. Alex Grant floats in and out of the lineup but has been known for his power play abilities.

Simon Despres (1-0-1, 3 GP), Bobby Farnham (1-0-1, 8 GP), Joey Mormina (1-0-1, 4 GP), Robert Bortuzzo (1-0-1, 9 GP)  and Philippe Dupuis (0-1-1, 8 GP) all have one point in the nine games. Despres has just come off of an injury.

Brian Dumoulin (1-1-2, 8 GP), Warren Peters (1-1-2, 9 GP) and Jayson Megna (2-0-2, 6 GP) have two points. Philip Samuelsson (1-2-3, 7 GP), Brian Gibbons (0-3-3, 9 GP), Benn Ferriero (1-2-3, 9 GP) have three points in 9 games.

Joe Morrow (0-4-4, 8 GP), Paul Thompson (2-2-4, 8 GP) and Eric Tangradi (1-3-4, 9 GP) have 4 points. Riley Holzapfel (2-3-5, 9 GP), Beau Bennett (0-5-5, 5 GP) and Trevor Smith (3-2-5, 9 GP) have 5 points.

No one has six points.

In the “things that make you go wow” department: Philippe Dupuis and Bobby Farnham have the same amount of points. (Farhnam a goal, Dupuis an assist) — Eric Tangradi only has one goal. Brian Gibbons is cold again (0-3-3) — Beau Bennett has five points and has missed the last four games.

I’m not mathematically advanced enough to give Jeff Zatkoff or Brad Thiessen’s numbers, sorry.

I think the team really misses Beau Bennett. That’s hard for me to say because there is no way in my mind that a rookie could mean so much to his team. I mean, I guess it could (see: Conacher, Cory last year for Norfolk) but in recent memory, a Penguins rookie hasn’t made that much of a difference for a team that they miss him so much.

Regarding tonights game, it is still scheduled for tonight despite the snowfall.

Gameday setup for tonight’s game will be here at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

Ink on Your Fingers

I hope the local portion of the Chirps from Center Ice reading contingent had the ability to purchase a Citizens’ Voice today. My print story pinch hitting for Jonathan Bombulie was in it. I was selfishly hoping for upper fold of the front of the sports page, but I will settle for Page B4. Here is the story in internet format. Not exactly James Ellery worthy, but you all seemed to enjoy it from what you gave me feed back wise on Twitter and Facebook, and for that I cannot thank you all enough.

Two things that didn’t make it past the editing table I wanted to share from last night:

— Joe Morrow was involved in his first pro fight with heavyweight Matt Clackson.

— Of the eight penalty shots awarded in the AHL this season, Brad Thiessen has been involved in two of them. He stopped Bridgeport’s Nino Niederrieter on October 20 and did not stop Garrett Mitchell last night.

It was an honor sitting on press row with the likes of the great Tim Leone who covers the Bears for The Patriot News and my fellow fan bloggers Sweetest Hockey on Earth. More of an honor pinch hitting for one of the best in this business.

We will return you to regular scheduled fan blogging this Wednesday when the Pens revisit Giant Center vs. the Bears. I’ll try to have something Monday or Tuesday in between here on the blog.

The Downfall of the Typewriter

ALERT: This post has no Penguins news in it.

We are witnessing the decline of a staple of everyday life for most people. It is the newspaper. Nearly everyplace you look you are seeing and hearing about daily newspapers going from a daily publication to three times a week.

It happened today, twice in two AHL East Division markets:



Tim Leone covers the Hershey Bears for The Patriot News. Lindsay Kramer covers the Syracuse Crunch for The Post-Standard. You can follow both men on Twitter @timleone and @PSCrunchHockey respectively.

Jonathan Bombulie tweeted this form of satire the other day:

I truly feel a bit of resentment as the untrained, unpaid, “fan blogger” in even continuing and maintaining to blog if by doing so leads to the downfall of print journalism either directly or indirectly.

Let me state unequivocally that it is not this blogs intent to take away from anything the paid professionals, be it in Hershey, Wilkes-Barre, Syracuse, Chicago or beyond put into print. I encourage you to read the actual journalists first because I always do.

That said, the intent of blogging and the downfall of print may be unavoidable in this “I want it now” society. Face it, news happens and breaks in real time in this day and age. The people who truly get their news from a newspaper anymore are few and far between with the dawn of the blog, the smartphone, Twitter, Facebook and beyond. That the newspaper may be extinct in ten years like the tube television is an absolute crying shame.

Buy a newspaper. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Let’s all hope that day never comes.

Thank You!

I offer the following post with no links. Everyone mentioned here is on Twitter. If you want to know more about a specific person, just mention me on Twitter, leave a comment on the blog or e-mail me.

Sent out a lot of “Thank You’s” on Twitter last night after the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins bowed out of the Calder Cup Playoffs 3-2 to the St. John’s IceCaps. If you don’t tweet you should, and follow me for Penguins banter.

In keeping with last night’s thank you’s the Twitter way, here it goes again:

Thank you to:

  • The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on a hell of a thirteenth season.
  • Brian Coe, Jill Heller, Josh McCorkle and the rest of the WBS Penguins front office employees for putting up with an over the top Penguins fan in me with a Twitter and a blog.
  • Mike O’Brien and Jonathan Bombulie on the media side for letting an insurance adjuster (me) come swim in their pool trying to act like local media.
  • Jason Chaimovitch and the braintrust in Springfield at AHL headquarters for the excellent work in keeping me informed so I can pretend like I know what I am talking about and again, act like I am a part of media.

Outside of WBS and the league she plays in, thanks to these people in other markets:

  • Tim Leone in Hershey. I try to emulate the wit on Twitter after him. I’ve learned that if you use Hershey as your benchmark, you are learning from the absolute best.
  • Michael Fornabaio in Bridgeport who is the inspiration for Chirps from Center Ice. What you read here with links and such was basically stolen from Mr. Fornabaio. He is another whom I try to emulate myself after on Twitter.
  • Joy Lindsay in Binghamton. With blogging and tweeting, I’ve yet to find another beat writer who works harder than this woman. She’ll never beat me in tweeting starting goalies, though. 🙂
  • Scott Stuccio in Hershey, voice of the Bears. Even though he hopped enemy lines and now bleeds Chocolate and White instead of Black and Gold you will never find a classier person at this level.
  • Bob Howard in Binghamton who runs the Power Play Post Show who had me on twice this season playing radio.
  • Patrick Williams who, despite being “called up” and covering the St. John’s IceCaps parent team, the Winnipeg Jets, was a huge help to a nobody (me) when I was first starting Twitter and the blog. The AHL really doesn’t have a well known observer of the sport anymore. A casual observer, if it were. Patrick Williams was that. I miss his insights on this league on a daily basis.

Good luck to Brendan McCarthy, Mark Andrews, Charlie Dart, Charles Pickett and the St. John’s IceCaps. Pete Michaud, Keith Phillips, Scott, Charlene and Kim and the Norfolk Admirals.

Good luck to Sherry and the Toronto Marlies and Eric Rodgers and the Oklahoma City Barons.

Other thanks has to go to Chris Roy from the Maine Hockey Journal, Darryl Hunt from Worcester, Tim McManus in Adirondack with Bob Rotruck, blog pals the Third Intermission out in Houston, 100 Degree Hockey in Cedar Park, Phil Giubileo, voice of the Sound Tigers, Keith Wozniak and LetsGoAmerks, Tracey Lake in Albany (and I guess Amy, too) my Hershey blog friends Sweetest Hockey run by Kyle and Kathryn, Cam Tucker and Dan Kinvig in Abbotsford, Nathan Mallett in San Antonio, the Admirals Roundtable who is, in my opinion, the number one AHL fan blog out there. Thanks to Mike Lappan and Jenni in Charlotte who runs Chasing Checkers. I miss the Checkers in Wilkes-Barre. More thanks to the biggest WBS fan in Toronto, Lindsey, Shawn Rine in Wheeling who covers the ECHL affiliate of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, Wheeling Nailers, like a snuggie. Brian Ring in Hartford, Dave Eminian and the guy who runs the Rivermen Fan Blog, MJ and Allovimo in Syracuse, the braintrust behind Chairman How’s Glorious Army. Mike Kelly, voice of the Springfield Falcons and Katharine there too. Dave Sottile in the Harrisburg area, Kate Krenzer with the Binghamton Senators, Carmine Vetrano, Stephen Nelson, late of Rockford. Jeff Green in Hamilton, Justin Walden and color commentator of the Bears Randy “Rock” Johnson. Justin Cohn in Fort Wayne, home of the Central League Champion Komets.

This line dedicated to Sue Johnson in Bridgeport, who gave this writer his first ever press credential in Bridgeport this season.

Thanks to my Pittsburgh contingents Oz, who runs Pens News Feed, Eric P from the Wilkes-Blog, Zach Boslett and Jesse Marshall from Faceoff Factor and Eric Majeski who did this before it was cool.

Many thanks also to the Wilkes-Barre contingent of the fan blogosphere, Butch Petit and Brent who runs PensFans4Ever and Tony Androckitis at Highland Park Hockey.

Most importantly, thank you, the fan, for coming here and reading this and interacting with me on Twitter. I maintain that I would still do this even if it were my mother, my cat and some random guy in Nebraska the only people reading this. That I get people coming here and following me on Twitter is a bonus, really.

I will be back and better than ever in 2012-2013, as I am confident the Penguins will be as well. Check back every now and again this summer for updates on offseason moves regarding the Penguins.

Let’s Go Pens!

Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre

Bombulie had a practice update today. The big news out of that is that Boris Valabik was put on waivers today for the purpose of being assigned to Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Jonathan also offered updates on the walking wounded including Geoff Walker (upper body) and Bryan Lerg (lower body) – Walker is day to day and Lerg was given a maintenance day.

The boys didn’t get back from Manchester until Sunday afternoon so Hynes gave them Monday off.

Whenever I hear “day to day” with a WBS player this normally means that they are out ten days. So taking this into account, Bombulie raised a practical question on slotting Valabik at forward. If so, it’d need to be in a fourth line checking role. First game of this experiment would be against Hershey, which is four lines dangerous. Not a risk I’d want to take.

Which leads me into my next point. You’d think reading what Jonathan wrote about slotting Valabik at forward I’d ask John Hynes about the proposition at tonight’s booster club meet and greet? Nope. That’s why I do something else for a living.

I chatted up Walker, Ryan Craig, Brian Day and others. They all looked fine and told me that they were fine. Only Keven Veilleux was on crutches but was in good spirits. I also said hello to Eric Tangradi who told me that the hit he took in Hershey a few weeks ago was the hardest he was ever hit in his hockey career.

Apologies in advance if you think I am rambling. There simply is nothing to blog about. I’m more active on Twitter. Follow me there if you haven’t already.

I’ll be back on point Friday with the standard Gameday post regarding the home game vs. Hershey.

Go Penguins.

Chirp Away…

I have been getting bombarded recently with spam comments. So I changed up the way I you can leave comments or, “chirps” as I like to call them.

1) Log in via WordPress if you are a fellow WordPress user.
2) Log in via Twitter.
3) Log in via Facebook.

I figure I am not alienating anyone who used to comment under the old setting by taking away the e-mail setting because everyone and their mother (even my mother) is on FaceBook.

Hopefully this cuts down the spam. If you don’t like it, hit me up via e-mail or via Twitter.

Now, read this if you haven’t already.

Let’s Go Pens!