Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Wednesday Notes 12/7

Bunch of stuff to get to for a Wednesday so let’s dive in.

On Tuesday, the format for the AHL All-Star classic was revealed. 

Slight alterations from last year, which was 4-on-4 for 4:30 followed by 3-on-3. Now, its just straight up 3-on-3 for 10 minutes. That’s going to be madness.

Later Tuesday, the Wheeling Nailers received goaltender Sean Maguire and traded goaltender J.P. Anderson to the Adirondack Thunder. Maguire has been injured since the start of the season, so he finally can get to Wheeling and show the brass down there what he can do. The Nailers will go with Doug Carr and Maguire as their tandem in goal. Trading Anderson to a division rival, who happens to lead said division, doesn’t make any sense to me but there are roster limits in the ECHL so Wheeling needed to find a home for Anderson to make room for Maguire.

Pittsburgh confirmed the Maguire news this morning along with Teddy Blueger being “officially” re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre. Blueger had been practicing on Coal Street.

Seth with news on Carter Rowney’s status…

Things are looking bad, right? Wrong.

For Guentzel, after a blazing start, he disappeared from the lineup and has been a healthy scratch. His NHL time will come, but sitting in a press box watching, vs. on the ice playing, does nothing for his continued development.

For Pouliot, I see this as a crossroads for the defenseman. He hasn’t really lived up to the hype that came with him when he was drafted so far. He has had flashes of brilliance, but when it came down to making a decision on who to send back to the AHL between he and Steve Oleksy, the brass chose Pouliot. Is it necessarily a knock against Pouliot? No. I don’t believe so. How he takes another reassignment to the AHL this time will most likely define his remaining professional hockey career.

Head Coach Mike Sullivan’s thought process on today’s reassignments…

You are caught up for now. Short of a scoopful of beneficial information, the next blog update will come at 3 p.m. Friday for the Gameday setup for the matchup with the Hershey Bears.

Pens Acquire Kristo for McNeill

Saturday at around noon, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired Forward Danny Kristo for Reid McNeill. 

This is a big deal. 

The first place Penguins add more offense to a team which is loaded in goal and stacked on the blue line. 

Kristo played with Carter Rowney at the University of North Dakota and also won a gold medal with Dave Warsofsky in 2010 at the World Juniors. 

It’s not clear whether Kristo will be able to join the Penguins tonight in Hershey, but if not, then definitely when the Penguins and Bears rematch in Chocolatetown this Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 

Game day setup for tonight’s matchup with the Bears will hit the blog at 3 p.m.

Transactions 11/9

Just a quick piece on this rainy Wednesday to document a few transactions made this week by the Penguins.

First, Wilkes-Barre sent Adam Krause down to Wheeling on Monday. Krause appeared in just one game for the Penguins, against Syracuse back on October 22. He’ll go down to Wheeling and get his reps there.

Second, Pittsburgh re-assigned David Warsofsky back down to Coal Street. Warsofsky was approaching the threshold of being exposed back to waivers again, so they sent him back down without having him needing to pass through again.

Third, the Penguins recalled both Steve Oleksy and Chad Ruhwedel and re-assigned Tom Sestito. This was Tuesday. Neither Oleksy or Ruhwedel played in Tuesday’s win against the Oilers.

Today, Wednesday, Pittsburgh re-assigned Chad Ruhwedel and recalled Tom Sestito again.

So what’s it all mean?

Derrick Pouliot is still out with a longer term lower body injury. I believe he is the only injured player on Pittsburgh right now. With Pittsburgh home this week, they can afford to make these recalls from Wilkes-Barre, with the AHL affiliate not playing agin until Friday at home against Toronto. I also think that it may have something to do with the salary cap, which me being a math imbecile, is beyond my comprehension. Why call up two guys, return two, send one guy back and the other down? Likely has something to do with numbers.

So as it stands Wednesday, Wilkes-Barre has Steve Oleksy on recall with Chad Ruhwedel and David Warsofsky here. A lot can and may change between now and 7:05 Friday and likely will. Don’t be surprised to see Warsofsky go back up at 5:30 on Friday and Oleksy back down in time for the huge matchup against the Marlies.

I probably won’t drop in an old news blog post between now and Friday, so stay tuned to the Twitter side of me for all the latest in terms of the roster jockeying.

Mike Condon Claimed, Rosters Shaken Up

NHL rosters are due today, so the Pittsburgh Penguins assigned forward Kevin Porter, defenseman David Warsofsky and goaltender Tristan Jarry to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins today.

Wait. Tristan Jarry?

Yes. Tristan Jarry was assigned to Wilkes-Barre. The reason for this is because the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed goaltender Mike Condon off of waivers from the Montreal Canadiens at noon Tuesday.

While yes, this transaction makes zero sense, the brain trust wants Jarry to get reps at the AHL level rather than sit and hold a clipboard and blow bubbles backing up Marc-Andre Fleury while Matt Murray continues his recover from his hand fracture. As soon as Murray is good to go, Pittsburgh waives Condon. The Canadiens would get the right of first refusal, can re-claim Condon and assign him to their AHL affiliate in St. John’s. Condon is nothing more than a pure rental while their star recovers.

It sucks for Jarry because there is nothing more he could have done or been asked of in camp. He will be in the NHL someday, today just isn’t his time. They want him to continue to develop his game in the AHL.

It also sucks for Casey DeSmith, who head coach Clark Donatelli dubbed dubbed on Sunday as his starter against Hartford on Saturday. DeSmith had a stellar camp. This business can be brutal sometimes.

In a later transaction, goalie Doug Carr was released and will report to the Wheeling Nailers.

Tom Sestito, who cleared waivers yesterday, was not re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre. You may not have heard but Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion suffered in practice last Friday, so Sestito is up for the time being as the 12th or 13th forward. As for Warsofsky, I think the brain trust thinks that keeping Derrick Pouliot around NHL players with NHL coaching will be better for his development vs. being sent back to the AHL where he has sort of hit a ceiling.

So the rosters appear set. Add in Warsofsky and Porter into these line combos from practice Tuesday…

… and you probably have a team ready to contend out of the gate again like prior years.

Don’t forget about the AHL Previews running on the blog. The Central Division Preview is up on the blog one post down. North goes tomorrow.

Cutting, Waiving

Pittsburgh trimmed their roster by four today.

Assigned to Wilkes-Barre straight up on Friday were Carter Rowney and Jake Guentzel. Placed on waivers were David Warsofsky and Kevin Porter.

Here’s what Pittsburgh’s roster looks like currently. Porter and Warsofsky are still with the team technically because they have not been officially assigned because of being on waivers.

One more roster cut is needed to get to the 23 man roster for opening night next week. Many options remain. Sestito? Wilson? Pouliot? Bengtsson?

If Coal Street makes cuts later today I’ll jump back in and edit this story. If not, look for the next blog piece Saturday night after the exhibition game with the Bears. If Warsofsky or Porter get claimed, I’ll have a brief reaction piece to that news here for the blog in the afternoon.

Here Comes the Calvary

Monday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins trimmed their roster by 17 players. From their release…

Players assigned to WBS include: goaltenders Casey DeSmith and Leland Irving; defensemen Tim Erixon, Ethan Prow, Stuart Percy, Cameron Gaunce, Reid McNeill, Steve Oleksy and Chad Ruhwedel; and forwards Oskar Sundqvist, Adam Krause, Ryan Haggerty, Sahir Gill, Josh Archibald, Dominik Simon, Garrett Wilson and Jean-Sebastien Dea.

If you were wondering about waivers, the release mentioned the guys on now. They have noon Tuesday to be officially reassigned to Coal Street. They are…

Erixon, Percy, Gaunce, McNeill, Oleksy, Ruhwedel and Wilson all have to clear waivers on Tuesday at noon before they can join WBS.

In case you were wondering, yes, that is likely the entirety of the Wilkes-Barre blue line which is on waivers at this time. Hold your breath.

Among the names still up with Pittsburgh that could still be re-assigned here include defensemen Lukas Bengtsson, Derrick Pouliot and David Warsofsky. Forwards are Jake Guentzel, Carter Rowney, Tom Sestito. Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli are injured and cannot be re-assigned until healthy. Outlier guys like Kevin Porter and maybe Scott Wilson are more solid locks to make the roster than Guentzel, Rowney or Sestito in my opinion.

Tristan Jarry remains up. Given the fact that he has not allowed a single preseason goal in two appearances, the safe money is him getting the backup job to Marc-Andre Fleury while Matt Murray recovers from his hand fracture. It appears as if he has won that job for the time being.

The roster currently stands at 31 players. Take Murray, Di Pauli and Blueger out of the picture and that’s 28 guys. Rosters on opening night have to be at 23 so there are five more guys that have to get cut. No one on the roster presently can get sent back to juniors i.e. say a healthy Daniel Sprong, so it’s a combination of Bengtsson, Warsofsky / Pouliot on defense and Guentzel, Rowney, Sestito and one more presumably. Porter? Scott Wilson? Conor Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl are too valuable. Tough decisions ahead for sure.

If anyone gets claimed at noon Tuesday I will be here to blog about it.

Camp Coming; Cuts Made*

* – questionable semicolon use by the author.

Wednesday the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins announced a training camp schedule. Camp opens Saturday on Coal Street. More about it here with a schedule. Practices held at 40 Coal Street in Wilkes-Barre are always open to the public.

Thursday, Pittsburgh sent defensemen Barry Goers, Michael Webster and Ryan Segalla and forwards Tom Kostopoulos, Milos Bubela, Gage Quinney, Jarrett Burton, Christian Hilbrich and Reid Gardiner to Wilkes-Barre. None of this first crop were on NHL contracts. There are 49 players left in Pittsburgh’s camp.

Tristan Jarry shined in his preseason start in Chicago Wednesday, shutting out the Blackhawks 2-0. Jarry will be gunning hard at the backup role behind Marc-Andre Fleury while Matt Murray recovers from his hand injury.

Elsewhere around the AHL…

— Binghamton is losing Ottawa as an NHL parent in 2017-18 it was announced this week. Pending AHL Board of Governors Approval, Ottawa will place their AHL prospects in Belleville, Ontario. Say hello to the Belleville Senators. They have a Twitter page and everything.

— Back in Binghamton, Executive VP of Operations Tom Mitchell emphatically states that the AHL is going nowhere when it comes to Binghamton. Video on that here. Mitchell didn’t mention anything about a potential NHL partner, so I don’t know if he is blowing smoke or if in fact there is an NHL team waiting in the wings once Ottawa uproots the Pens prospects at the end of this coming regular season.

I’ll say this. I love my trips to Binghamton. There are good people in Binghamton and it’s a great city for AHL hockey. I hope that Mitchell is in fact correct and that we all can rest easy and not worry about there not being hockey on the Southern Tier in 2017-18 and beyond.

— The Hershey Bears have a new voice. Meet Zack Fisch. Promoted from the Bears ECHL affiliate in South Carolina, he takes over for the job Scott Stuccio did for the Bears. They didn’t list his shoe size but he better have big feet because he has enormous shoes to fill.

Coal Street will probably publish a training camp roster some time Friday and when they do, I’ll jump back on here and blog about it.

One more thing. I don’t know if you noticed or not but the “WBS News” feed to the left of the blog is down. That’s cause I pull the RSS feed from wbspenguins.com but that domain is under construction. If you go to their website you are hit with a splash page that says that the new wbspenguins.com is coming soon. Hopefully the RSS doesn’t change.

It isn’t you. Or me. In case you were wondering, that’s why there hasn’t been any “WBS News” for the last month or month and a half.

More this weekend, presumably.