Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Pittsburgh

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.

J-S Dea Claimed on Waivers by NJ Devils

The ghosts of Ray Shero and John Hynes strike again…

Always a possibility, never a certainty that a guy would get claimed. I didn’t forsee any team claiming Dea, but Shero signed him as an undrafted unknown and Hynes helped develop him. Dea was a good player stuck on the wrong franchise. There never was any doubt that he would start the season in Wilkes-Barre in my mind, but he’s over-ripened at the AHL level and needed to break out. New Jersey putting a claim in on him allows that.

This after a nice article from Jonathan Bombulie which was featured on the AHL site today.

In case you are wondering, the Penguins would have the right of first refusal should New Jersey ever try to sneak Dea down to their AHL club in Binghamton and re-expose him to waivers. Pittsburgh could then re-claim him and assign him to Wilkes-Barre. I don’t see that happening, but I’ve been wrong before.

Zach Trotman was the other player put on waivers by Pittsburgh Thursday and he cleared. No Penguins were on waivers noon Friday.

The AHLTV set top app (I only have Apple TV, can’t speak on others) is live in the App Store, so if you have a smart TV with the apps supported by the AHL’s new streaming device, queue up ‘AHLTV’ and stream away this upcoming season.

Practice updates were quiet Friday, I didn’t see anything from Tom or Tyler out of Coal Street today. So more Saturday night here on the blog after the Penguins second preseason game of the season against Hershey. Head Coach Clark Donatelli did tell the media Thursday night that Anthony Peters would get the whole game Saturday. Beyond that as far as other lineup changes is anyone’s guess.

Talk to you Saturday after the game.

Preseason Eve 9/26

Just a few loose ends to tie off before the Penguins first preseason game Thursday night at home against Lehigh Valley at 7:05.

— Ryan Haggerty bagged himself a two year NHL contract. The Penguins had an extra contract laying around for him once they cut ties with Freddie Tiffels. Haggerty did impress at camp in Pittsburgh, and earned himself an NHL contract. It’s odd how sometimes those things play out. Haggerty re-signed with Wilkes-Barre over the summer, an AHL deal attended Pittsburgh’s camp as sort of a head start to get himself ready for AHL camp then Tiffels breaks for Germany, Pittsburgh has a free contract laying about and Haggerty has a dynamite camp for the NHL team. I have a feeling it won’t be his last time in Pittsburgh, he easily could earn himself a recall at some point during the season.

— Haggerty was placed on waivers Tuesday and cleared, and was on the ice at Coal Street on Wednesday afternoon.

— Ethan Prow cleared his waivers on Tuesday.

— A familiar face for Penguins in D Tim Erixon skated with the team Tuesday and was added to the camp roster Wednesday on a tryout. Erixon played for Binghamton and Springfield last year.

— John Muse is expected to start tomorrow against his old team in exhibition action. Both he and Anthony Peters will get a full game, so you figure Muse tomorrow, Peters Saturday at home against Hershey and a combination of both Sunday in Hershey unless there is plans to work in the other netminder in camp, Danny Tirone.

— Expect a lineup full of non-regulars, which is common for the first game as these guys are battling to make camp.

— Injuries: They expect Czuczman back sooner than December, probably in November….Joe Cramarossa is out a month with an upper body ailment.

— AHL Rulebook was updated for 2018-19. Lots of changes on the goalie equipment and twelve pages on what constitutes goalie interference. So it’s gonna be fun getting hot that the 62 nimrods that come through Wilkes-Barre or are assigned to work Penguins games in other cities as they try to figure out, on the fly, skating in motion, whether the goalie was impeded with when a goal was scored. Oh! The joy!

Don’t expect anything too in depth from the blog Thursday night. It’s a work night preseason game. Probably just a blurb on who stood out, who won, what the lines were, etc. I say that now but knowing me it’ll be as in depth as anything. Talk to you then.

Weekend Update 9/14

Another week closer to the start of the hockey season. NHL camp started Friday in Pittsburgh. But since the last time I blogged, there were some newsy items I just want to hit on here:

Tom Sestito has retired. He was mulling an offer with an AHL team out west, but told Lindsay Kramer:

“It came to do I want to move the family across country again or call it quits?” he said. “I had enough, I guess. I think I just don’t have it mentally to play another year.”

What Kyle was referring to…

That playoff series with the Bears was probably one of my most enjoyable to cover as a fan and a blogger. It had everything. Sestito was a giant part of that. Sestito may have retired, but legends never die.

Other news…

Penguins rookies went 0-3 and weren’t competitive at all against the three other teams they played last weekend. Take nothing away from this. It was a four day tournament for a bunch of teenagers and players still years away from the AHL. Adam Johnson shined in the tournament, but that’s because he has the experience playing at this level of hockey.

(If you think I am late with this stale news, sorry, I’m trying to enjoy the final knockings of summer and don’t get worked up over rookie tournaments that will be an afterthought come October)

On AHLTV, Stephen Meserve from 100 Degree Hoickey spoke with AHL VP of Communications Jason Chaimovitch about how the whole thing came about. They listened to you about an antiquated AHL Live system that overstayed its welcome and was grossly overpriced. It’s a good read.

Wheeling shores up its goaltending situation with the signing of Evan Cowley. The coaching staff is high on this guy.

Pittsburgh announced its training camp roster. No surprises of the names invited. Ryan Haggerty, on AHL contract only with Wilkes-Barre, gets an invite.

A notable absence on that roster list is Kevin Czuczman. He’s injured. He had offseason shoulder surgery and is out until December. Probably went straight to the operating table after the series with Charlotte and is still rehabbing. If I had to guess, it’s a rotator cuff and without giving away what I do for full time work, it’s a six month recovery period, barring complications.

As noted by Tyler here, Pens are deep on defense, so while Czuczman will be missed, his absence shouldn’t hurt Wilkes-Barre too badly out of the gate.

Too good not to share, Derrick Graffius had his own thoughts on Penguins training camp.

So that’s that. Look for Wilkes-Barre top put a camp roster out at some point during the coming days, probably later next week. When they do, I will have words here.

Enjoy the weekend.

The Very Humid and Flooded Notebook

I didn’t think, going back and compiling the bits and pieces of information I had stockpiled since the last time I blogged here in the summertime that I had a lot of stuff to blog about.

Well, I do. So here goes.

First, if we are Facebook friends and you get your information on when I post stuff on here through that platform, I regret to inform you that Facebook killed that avenue as of August 1. Blame the Russians I suppose. I will try to remember to cut and paste after stuff gets posted on here over there, but in the off chance that I miss, keep the blog as part of your internet bookmarks. I will not be creating a Facebook Page (apparently the posting from WordPress to Facebook still works on that platform) because it’s too much work and there enough pages out there.

Anyway, now to the good stuff…

Penguins announced their promo schedule to their season ticket members. They also announced the hat designs for the McDonald’s giveaways. They are….

Mike Bavis was announced as the new coach of the Wheeling Nailers. If you are wondering why the Wheeling Nailers now have two head coaches, well their old new coach, Mark Dennehy was named head coach of the Binghamton Devils. Extremely coy of the New Jersey Devils organization to sweep in and and ask for permission from Pittsburgh to interview a coach already under contract like that. You’ve think you’ve seen it all in this industry and then that happens. Anyway, Bavis looks like Ed Kopec from Edward’s Garden Center in Forty Fort, for some local local inference / humor.

Wilkes-Barre signed D Johnny Austin. Some information on him…

Pittsburgh was listed #23 on Corey Pronman’s Farm System Rankings over on The Athletic. Subscription required and highly recommended to read his thoughts on Penguins prospects here.

This happened at some point during the summer and yes I am channeling my 14 year old self with this proud accomplishment…

Ex-Penguin and current now former Hershey Bear Zach Sill signed with HC Sparta Praha.

Coal Street is offering a neat little internship to college students. You will probably cross paths with me at some point! Yay education!

Finally, Tom Sestito’s name popped up in the news cycle. He’s probably headed West, story here from out of Syracuse. Sestito is from nearby Rome, NY.

Less than 50 days to the start of the new season. Spend these days wisely.

Thursday Tidbits 7/19

Emptying out the notebook with the following pieces of news from the last week or so.

– It was announced today that Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins assistant coach Tim Army was named Head Coach of the Iowa Wild. The Wild play in the Central Division, and will not see the Penguins on their regular season schedule. The job opened up when Derek Lalonde took a job as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Wild were primed to be a strong team to start last year and were for large parts but they fizzled, losing seven of their last ten games and falling out of playoff contention. Lalonde fails upward, and gets an NHL gig while Army comes over in an attempt to get Iowa to the playoffs in 2018-19.

– Army may not be the only Penguins assistant on his way out the door…

– Pittsburgh re-signed Teddy Blueger, Thomas DiPauli and Ethan Prow this week. The only RFA left outstanding is Tristan Jarry.

Couple things from Coal Street this past week. First, the Penguins Podcast is back (on SoundCloud, which means half the people can’t just download it on iTunes and listen to it on their commute home read: me if any Penguins staffer reads this, please put the podcast on iTunes sooner rather than later)

Finally, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary, the Penguins are looking for your fondest memory of the last 19 years. You can let them know right here.

Enjoy your weekend.