Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Monday Notes 2/11

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:

Charlotte 71
Bridgeport 62
Providence 59
Lehigh Valley 57
—–
Hershey 55
PENGUINS 53
Springfield 52
Hartford 46

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.

Tuesday Notes 12/18

A couple things to catch you up on here before the midweek game against Bridgeport Wednesday night. Here goes:

Dave Hakstol is out as head coach in Philly and the Flyers hire from within and tab Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon as interim coach in Philadelphia.

Staying with the, “next man up” idea, Kerry Huffman, an assistant of Gordon’s in Allentown, is the new man behind the Phantoms bench, for now. The release says that they are looking for a new head coach.

Basically how that is going to go is that Huffman will get 5-7 games as head coach. If the Phantoms do good in those games, he keeps the job. If not, they look for someone new.

Back locally, J-S Dea was re-assigned down from Pittsburgh Tuesday morning.

Also, Garrett Wilson is on waivers. If he goes unclaimed, Pittsburgh can send him here. If he does, don’t look for it to happen immediately. The NHL holiday roster freeze is coming. Pittsburgh wants that flexibility in case they get a healthy forward or two back from injury.

Tyler reports that Thomas DiPauli is week to week. He joins other week to weekers Sam Miletic and Chris Summers.

Wilkes-Barre should be OK for now, getting Dea and possibly Wilson back.

Old buddy Tom Sestito comes out of retirement and signs on with the Toronto Marlies. In case you are wondering, Wilkes-Barre and Toronto don’t lock up again until March 17.

Bridgeport is in Wednesday and will be without the services of Stephen Gionta, who was suspended three games by the AHL for boarding in Sunday’s game. Gionta was the one that injured or finished off Thomas DiPauli, who you will recall was stung by a Kevin Czuczman shot in the first period on Sunday, was tangled with with Gionta in the second and didn’t return. Coal Street must have thought the hit was egregious enough to warrant a review by the brain trust in Springfield and the gamble worked. There was no penalty on the play.

Here is the play in GIF form courtesy of the fine folks at Let’s Go Amerks:

Finally, Friday’s game at Hershey will be the AHL’s Facebook Watch Game of the Week. It’s free to anyone who has a Facebook account. Hershey’s feed is one of the best in the AHL with multiple angles and has been broadcast in high definition for years now. Check it out if you can find the time Friday.

Gameday setup will hit the blog for Wednesday’s game with Bridgeport at 3 p.m. Until then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stefan Elliott and Tobias Lindberg Traded 12/5

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a trade today that benefitted its AHL team in Wilkes-Barre Wednesday.

Pittsburgh traded forward Tobias Lindberg and defenseman Stefan Elliott to the Ottawa Senators for forward Ben Sexton and defenseman Macoy Erkamps. Also in a separate transaction, Wilkes-Barre acquired forward Ryan Scarfo in a future considerations deal with the Belleville Senators, the AHL affiliate of Ottawa.

On Lindberg, he never really fit and couldn’t make it past the third line here in Wilkes-Barre.

On Elliott, when Pittsburgh traded away Daniel Sprong this week for Marcus Pettersson from Anaheim giving the NHL team nine rostered defensemen, someone in Wilkes-Barre was expendable. Stefan Elliott was that person.

Nothing really jumps off the page at what Wilkes-Barre is getting in return. Ben Sexton is a heart and soul type player that had good numbers in 2016-17 for the Albany Devils. Sexton played with Jarrett Burton and Troy Josephs at Clarkson University. The other two in Erkamps and Scarfo are depth guys that have seen a fair share of ECHL work with Belleville’s affiliate Brampton.

It doesn’t look like a blockbuster trade, but remember that Belleville has been awful for these past two seasons. Call it a change of scenery for all involved.

J-S Dea Reclaimed; Assigned to Wilkes-Barre

In follow up to the news on Wednesday that the New Jersey Devils placed Jean-Sebastien Dea on waivers, news Thursday on his whereabouts was revealed.

It’s Wilkes-Barre.

That will certainly help a Penguin team at the bottom of the penalty kill in the AHL. Dea’s speed is unmatched.

What isn’t clear is whether Dea makes his way to Rochester this Friday or Toronto this Saturday. I’ve not seen or heard anything to the contrary yet as to his availability, but one would have to assume he will play either Friday or Saturday if not both games. I’m sure Clark Donatelli and the Penguins coaching staff are chomping at the bit to get Dea back on the ice in a Penguins sweater.

Gameday setup for Friday’s matchup against the Rochester Americans will be on blog at 3.

News and Notes 11/20

I found four bits of news which I was able to spin into a blog piece so here goes…

Troy Josephs was named ECHL Player of the Week after his solid weekend for the Wheeling Nailers, who swept through the south last weekend, winning all three games. Josephs had six goals and one assist in four games last week and is second in the ECHL in scoring. None of the goals topped this one he scored against Greenville on Sunday…

Ryan Horvat was released from his professional tryout with Coal Street, per AHL Transactions.

Tom had a nice feature on Sam Lafferty for The Athletic you can read here if you are a subscriber.

With the tumult going on in Pittsburgh right now, don’t be surprised to see someone like Lafferty go up later in the year so Pittsburgh can see what they have asset wise with Lafferty. Add Ethan Prow, Anthony Angello, Thomas Di Pauli and Sam Miletic into that mix as well if things spiral so far out of control in Pittsburgh they are playing for a draft pick instead of a playoff spot. It all trickles down.

On Miletic, Tyler offered the following…

You are going to see in tomorrow’s AHL Power Rankings that the Penguins are missing, “something” right now. I think the two things they are missing is leadership (Garrett Wilson was reassigned Saturday but didn’t play against Charlotte) and a play maker. I think Miletic is that play maker.

Pens have three games this weekend; on the road against Springfield on Friday then two at home with Hershey Saturday and Providence Sunday. I would expect Miletic to get the play Friday, off Saturday, play Sunday treatment.

Check out the Power Rankings Wednesday, enjoy your Thanksgiving on Thursday then check us out Friday for the Gameday setup against Springfield.

Tuesday Notes 10/9

What you see below was a Facebook status update. I didn’t think I had enough to string together for a blog post, but after I finished I looked at it and figured it was so here goes…

Pens made cuts – sent Dane Birks, Kevin Spinoza and Cam Brown to Wheeling on Sunday.

– Pens had a goalie controversy until they didn’t. Matt Murray is out with a concussion (again, his third) and Tristan Jarry is on his way back up.

– I upgraded to a five year plan with the Penguins. The early access, my own line and parking spot put me over the top.

– As some of you may know, the Power Rankings will be out Thursday. I’m not married to Thursday’s yet, but I’m not staying up late on Sunday to run them on Monday anymore. May run them Tuesday, but Thursday it is for now.

– Pens are going to be on NHL Network later in the season. Way later, March 13 and April 7 in Lehigh Valley against the Phantoms.

That’s all. Pens are the only game in town when they play a rare Thursday game in Cleveland. More then.

Final Cuts; AHLTV Free Preview

Pittsburgh kind of finalized their opening night roster with the assignments of the already cleared Zach Trotman and Zach Aston-Reese. Aston-Reese didn’t need waivers.

Their roster stands at 24 as of Monday and have to make one more move to get to the 23 man limit.

But Daniel Sprong, Brian Dumoulin and Tristan Jarry are all day to day with body ailments. Sprong and Dumoulin are skating on their own and not practicing, Jarry is not.

So where does that leave things?

Pittsburgh could IR all three and easily recall Trotman and Aston-Reese and have Casey DeSmith back up Matt Murray in goal Thursday night.

I would say of the remaining players up eligible to come down, you are looking at the waiver exempt players in Juuso Riikola and Tristan Jarry possibly coming down when all players are healthy. But since the roster is now at 24, with only one more move to make, the money would be on Jarry coming down and Riikola staying up. No NHL team carries three goalies and Jarry doesn’t need waivers. It’s possible that they bump Riikola down to get to 23, don’t IR anyone and keep things where they are until Jarry is healthy enough to come down and then recall Riikola.

Who knows. A lot of things still in play here. They seem to be all in on Dominik Simon, that is for sure.

Coal Street also made cuts. Forwards Tyler Bird, Yushiroh Hirano, Renārs Krastenbergs, Cédric Lacroix, Zac Lynch and Nick Saracino as well as defensemen Johnny Austin, Dan Fick, Craig Skudalski and goalie Danny Tirone all were sent to Wheeling this afternoon. Matt Abt, Cam Brown, Tim Erixon and Ryan Horvat stick around for now. There are no roster limits in the AHL, in case you were wondering. They are the only league of the big three (NHl, AHL, ECHL) without one.

Finally, the AHL’s new streaming toy, AHLTV, will be free to all who sign or have already signed up for the service this weekend. With Wilkes-Barre off Friday and Sunday, I’ll be messing around on there trying out all the new features they have been talking about.

If you missed the Pacific Division Preview which debuted at noon, it’s one post up or right here. Central tomorrow at noon, more news sprinkled in here and there. Keep checking back, business is picking back up.