Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: The AHL

So, Syracuse….

Th Penguins were originally scheduled to host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday night in front of the first crowd of the 2021 season.

Well, COVID had something to say about this, and Lehigh Valley’s scheduled game with Binghamton on Wednesday was postponed. What was expected was that their game with Wilkes-Barre scheduled for Friday would follow, meaning the two teams would not play on Friday.

Yes, in part. No, in part.

The League announced a lot of COVID related changes Thursday. Two of the cleaner teams, Wilkes-Barre and Syracuse (who had a few dates with Rochester and Utica scrubbed because of COVID) will instead play Friday in Wilkes-Barre.

No word on Sunday’s game against the Phantoms in Allentown, yet.

This all remains silly and I want off this ride already.

Pens / Devils Postponed to Monday…A Rant

The 85th AHL season stated Friday. It’s off to a flying start already…

COVID protocols, and all that. Devils / Bears, scheduled for Friday, moved to February 17. Pens / Devils, scheduled for this Saturday, moved to Monday at 5.

Listen, this is an awful idea that they are forcing upon us. With major league sports, you can make it happen because of unlimited financial resources, among other reasons. The American Hockey League is the first minor league operation to attempt this. It isn’t going well. It’s not going to go well. It isn’t the first delay of a scheduled regular season game which has been canned. So far, you have:

  • Tucson and San Jose, scheduled for Friday, straight up cancelled. No make up date.
  • Tucson and San Jose, scheduled for Saturday, moved to Sunday.

I don’t want to hear it form anyone that says that this sorry attempt of a season is, “different” or “unique” or “challenging.” I think it’s bad, stupid, dangerous and selfish. It isn’t good for the League as a whole moving forward. It just isn’t. Three teams already (Charlotte, Milwaukee and Springfield) are not playing, and a host of others (Belleville, Toronto, Manitoba, Laval and Stockton (who will play their games out of Calgary) haven’t even started yet because their local Canadian governments won’t let them. Smart, if you ask me.

Anyone who sees it differently is either a team or league rep who wants to brainwash you into thinking otherwise or someone else too far into the forest to see the trees.

This isn’t the last postponement that the League is going to see, and certainly not the last postponement that Coal Street will make jointly with whatever team is on the schedule that day, weekend or coming week.

At some point there are too many holes in the boat for it to remain a safe sailing vessel. Eventually it will sink.

Maybe I am wrong, but there is a pattern here. And it isn’t a good one.

Out the door, Josh Currie was named Penguins captain Friday.

Tuesday’s Preseason Game Postponed to Thursday


It’s not like the teams don’t play each other ten plus times in the regular season and the regular seasons starts for both teams 48 hours later. You’re telling me that a preseason game is THAT important that it must be played? Please.

This is just silly, and probably not the last time that there is going to be an announcement that there is some alteration to the Penguins schedule this season.


Delayed Already

Tyler had some news on Sunday afternoon.

I’m not going to publicly play the speculation game on which player / staff member tested positive.

Tyler followed it up with a story in today’s Citizen’s Voice on the delayed start to the season, speculating on if the delay would have any bearing on the exhibition game the Penguins were scheduled to play in Allentown against Lehigh Valley.

Coal Street with a Monday afternoon announcement confirming the doubts.

This, coupled with….

Makes for cluster bleep of an attempt of a season, and what’s setting up to be a total disaster on all fronts. Just give it time.

The idea of a forced season, especially in the way you have it constructed presently, with taxi squads, three teams sitting out and the way you have your divisions drawn up and the opponents you will play (i.e. Hershey plays Wilkes-Barre, Lehigh Valley and Binghamton and that’s it) makes for a terrible, asinine idea.

But, they are going to make it work, damn the torpedoes!

2021 AHL Schedule Released

They are hell bent on making this work, so two weeks before the season begins, a schedule was announced for said season.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will play 32 games in the abbreviated attempt of a season. Normally what I do in seasons past is a question and answer session, so in keeping with the silly tradition, I offer the following:

Penguins release here. League release here.

1) What does the opponent matrix look like?

Well, you know that the division is changed this season because of the pandemic. Charlotte and Springfield aren’t playing, Hartford, Bridgeport and Providence are playing in a separate three team division which leaves the Penguins, Lehigh Valley, Hershey, Binghamton, Utica, Syracuse and Rochester in a division all to their own called the North Division. Binghamton is playing their home games out of Newark, NJ. There was talk that no team would travel more than 250 miles one way to avoid having to stay in a hotel so that rules out Rochester and Utica. That leaves 10 games with Hershey and Lehigh Valley and six games with Syracuse and Binghamton.

2) Longest road trip? Longest home stand? Three in threes? And will fans be allowed at all?

Well, again, the Penguins aren’t staying in any hotels this season, no team in the division is, really, but since you asked it’s no more than two in a row at home and three straight on the road March 28, 31 and April 3. Zero three in threes. Five back to back games.

No fans to start. The Penguins did mention they would like to allow fans, “at a later date” but if you want my advice, do so at your own risk.

3) Any workday games?

No. The games that the Pens will be playing on the weekdays will be played at home but for April 30 (a Friday) at 7 against Binghamton. All the other weekday games start at 5 but for an April 28 game against Lehigh Valley which starts at 7 and a May 12 game against Syracuse which starts at 7.

I would actually prefer this if there aren’t going to be fans, it frees up my evenings for other things.

4) Is there an All-Star Classic?

Not this year. Laval was supposed to get it under normal circumstances, they just moved it out one year.

5) I didn’t get my free AHL TV code yet.

Neither did I. Don’t fret, just periodically check the e-mail the Penguins have on you. If push comes to shove, call or e-mail your ticket rep.

6) Playoffs?

Don’t know yet. Players want them, team front offices haven’t thought that far out. I don’t see it happening, personally.

7) Any wiggle room for inevitable COVID related delays?

With the concept of playing behind closed doors and teams playing teams only a bus ride away, you would think that there is room for that, but with players wanting playoffs, I honestly don’t think if a weekend set of games for one team gets canned, it’s highly unlikely that those games get added to the tail end or wedged into the schedule.

8) So how are they going to rank teams in the division? Don’t say by points percentage!

Okay, so that question may have been asked by the section in my mind which is bad at math. It looks like yes, they will be ranking teams by points percentage this season because of the amount of games that all the teams are going to be playing and how each differs across the geographic spectrum which is today’s American Hockey League. It’s (sadly) the only fair way to do it.

9) I think this is stupid.

So do I, friend, so do I.

Penguins also announced their training camp roster. Link to that here.

Preseason game next Friday.

Stay safe.

Schedule Friday

Back here Friday afternoon to break it all down.

Preseason Schedule Announced – Sort Of…

By a matter of chance I happened upon the AHL’s website and clicked on their GameCenter menu line item and what drops down is the preseason schedule for 2020-21. So I click on it and it brings me here. On it, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are slated to play two exhibition games. They are:

  • Friday, January 29 at Lehigh Valley at 7 p.m.
  • Monday, February 1 vs. Binghamton (in Newark, NJ) at 4 p.m.

Nothing official from the team yet, but if it is on the league’s website, it’s as official as official gets.

No info about radio, etc. Preseason games are not televised on AHLTV.

So there you go. Some news on Friday for you.