Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: The AHL

Andrey Pedan Named AHL Player of the Week

There would have been a major uprising from the City of Wilkes-Barre if neither Ryan Haggerty or Andrey Pedan were not named AHL Player of the Week this week.

Andrey Pedan gets the nomination. The AHL announced the news as the 1 p.m. games got going on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

AHL could have went either way with either Pedan or Haggerty. I was told once that these types of awards are boosters for players on NHL contracts. Ryan Haggerty is on an AHL only contract to Wilkes-Barre, so that may have played into it. It’s my own conspiracy theory, but I’m happy for Pedan nevertheless.

In case you missed his weekend, Pedan had a hat trick Saturday and two assists with a +5 rating to help the Atlantic Division leading Penguins extend their winning streak to seven games.

The AHL Player of the Week and the rest of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins take on the second place in the Atlantic Lehigh Valley Phantoms this Wednesday at home. But for anything breaking between now and then, check out the Gameday setup here Wednesday at @ 3.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 15

The first full week of January is in the books and the AHL hit the halfway mark this past weekend as the positioning for the divisional races and top four are heating up.

Big shakeup this week in the Top 5. In fact, no one stayed where they were last week. Every team moved up or down this week.

The Toronto Marlies are back in the top spot this week after sweeping the Checkers in North Carolina and are 7-3 in their last ten.

The Syracuse Crunch jump up to the second spot in the Rankings, sweeping the Rochester Americans capping off a perfect week for the Crunch.

The Pacific Division leading Tucson Roadrunners are third, followed by the Atlantic Division leading Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who have won seven straight.

The Grand Rapids Griffins round out the top five, the defending champions are not out of this thing yet and are not to be discounted.

To see the sixth place team, hit the jump after the Griffins to see the rest if you didn’t link in direct.

1

Last Week: TOR 4 @ CHA 1, TOR 3 @ CHA 1
Sweep the Checkers in North Carolina. 7-3 in their last ten, winners of six straight.

+3

This Week: @ SYR 1/19, @ BNG 1/20, @ BRI 1/21
Record: 28-11-0-0

2

Last Week: SYR 4 @ BNG 1, SYR 3 @ UTI 2, RCH 0 @ SYR 4
Crunch sweep the week, putting pressure on second place Rochester. Shutting the Amerks out Saturday sends a strong message.

+5

This Week: vs. BNG 1/15, @ BEL 1/17, vs. TOR 1/19, @ UTI 1/20
Record: 23-12-1-2

3

Last Week: TUC 4 @ STK 2, TUC 4 @ ONT 6, TUC 4 @ SD 2
Tucson holds the first spot in the Pacific for another week with wins against second place Stockton and third place San Diego.

+2

This Week: vs. SD 1/15, vs. SD 1/17, @ SA 1/19, @ SA 1/20
Record: 19-11-2-1

4

Last Week: WBS 6 @ BEL 2, WBS 4 @ LAV 3
Seven straight for the Penguins, who took advantage of some non-playoff teams. Real test is this week against rivals Lehigh Valley and Providence.

+5

This Week: vs. LV 1/17, @ PRO 1/19, @ PRO 1/21
Record: 23-10-2-1

5

Last Week: GR 3 @ MTB 2 (OT), GR 5 @ MTB 1, CLE 2 @ GR 4, CLE 2 @ GR 1
Griffins sweep the Moose in Winnipeg, then split a series with the Monsters. Don’t sleep on the defending champs yet.

+5

This Week: vs. MIL 1.17, @ MIL 1/19, vs. RFD 1/20
Record: 19-17-1-4

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

AHL Power Rankings: Week 14

We are past the holidays and things are starting to get serious for teams as they begin the slow build towards the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs as we are now at Week 14 here in the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings.

Wouldn’t you know it, there is a new team at the top of the Rankings this week and they are the Rochester Americans. The Americans have been consistently the best team in the AHL for a while now. I remember the old NASCAR points scoring that awarded consistency. You didn’t have to win every week, but as long as you finished in the to five or top ten in each race, you would have a serious shot at a Championship. That is the Rochester Americans right now. They aren’t the best team in the AHL (that’s the Manitoba Moose) or even the best team in their division (that’s the Toronto Marlies) but Rochester has been nothing but consistent, and that is why they are the number one team this week looking to stay there a good while.

Manitoba didn’t drop far, they only fell to second after a hard charging Chicao Wolves team got them in overtime.

The aforementioned Wolves team is third and looking to chase down Manitoba for the top spot in the Central. Something which was unthinkable a few weeks ago.

Toronto leads the North and are in fourth followed by Tucson who lead the Pacific in fifth.

Pop past the Roadrunners to see 6 on back if you didn’t link in direct.

1

Last Week: BRI 2 @ RCH 3 (OT), LV 1 @ RCH 3
Amerks have earned the top spot in this weeks Rankings. Battled with the Sound Tigers Friday and then took down the Phantoms Saturday.

+2

This Week: @ BEL 1/10, vs. BNG 1/12, @ SYR 1/13
Record: 22-8-3-3

2

Last Week: MTB 3 @ CHI 4 (OT), MTB 4 @ IA 3
Clipped this week by Chicago in OT but are still racking up points and remain a dangerous team. Home stand continues this week with stops in by the Griffins and Wild.

-1

This Week: vs. GR 1/8, vs. GR 1/10, vs. IA 1/13, vs. IA 1/14
Record: 25-6-2-2

3

Last Week: CHI 2 @ IA 1, CLE 3 @ CHI 5, MTB 3 @ CHI 4 (OT), GR 0 @ CHI 2
14 game point streak for the surging Wolves, also ending Grand Rapids 7 game points streak in the process. Wolves are all of a sudden up to second in the Central.

+6

This Week: @ SD 1/10, @ BAK 1/12, @ ONT 1/13
Record: 18-12-5-2

4

Last Week: TOR 5 @ LAV 2, LV 2 @ TOR 3 (SO), BRI 1 @ TOR 6
Patrick Williams said it best this week, “It would appear that little slump the Marlies had is over. They lead the Eastern Conference, and [the 6-1 win over Bridgeport Saturday] makes four wins in a row.”

+3

This Week: @ CHA 1/12, @ CHA 1/13
Record: 26-11-0-0

5

Last Week: ONT 3 @ TUC 4, ONT 6 @ TUC 3
Split with Ontario. Head to California as the division leaders against some stiff competition.

+1

This Week: @ STK 1/0, @ ONT 1/12, @ SD 1/13
Record: 17-10-2-1

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

That’s All-Star Casey DeSmith to You…

The American Hockey League announced on Thursday afternoon the playing rosters for the All-Star Classic which will be held in Utica, NY on January 28 and 29.

Staying with the four divisions that make up the “teams” that will compete in a round robin four on four and three on three tournament, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will have two nominees head to Central New York in a few weeks.

Forward Daniel Sprong and Goaltender Casey DeSmith were named today. First selections for both. Sprong is in his rookie year, DeSmith his sophomore season. Release from Coral Street here.

Sprong is currently with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Here’s the Atlantic Division roster…

Penguins are among the Providence Bruins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms to have two players represent their teams out of the 12 players selected for the Atlantic Division team. Hershey, Springfield, Charlotte and Hartford are only sending one representative.

Full roster and league release here.

Quotes…

Sounds like Clark is speaking in past tense regarding Sprong. Your interpretation may vary.

The ECHL also named their All-Star squads. They are adopting the same format as the AHL this year. Their games are being held in Indianapolis this year and will be hosted by the Indy Fuel. Wheeling’s Cody Wydo, currently up with Wilkes-Barre, was the lone Nailer selected.

Notes from practice today…

Casey DeSmith was not at practice on Coal Street today. Donatelli told media that he’s essentially in purgatory and playing, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash at his apartment on repeat waiting on whether he is being recalled to Pittsburgh. Only part of that last sentence is true, I’ll let you decide which is correct. Of note, Tristan Jarry participated in practice with Pittsburgh earlier. The Pens host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight before traveling to Brooklyn to take on the Islanders Friday.

Zach Trotman and Adam Johnson were also at practice at Coal Street today. I’d suspect that if a recall was going to be made, it would have been done already.

Sebastian Caron was at practice again today. The plan is to go with DeSmith and Anthony Peters this weekend, but if that can’t happen because Pittsburgh does recall DeSmith, then the plan is to go with Peters the starter and Caron the backup. Personally I find this plan nonsensical but as I always say, I blog about the team, I don’t run it.

Gameday setup for Friday’s matchup vs. Springfield, provided they are able to get here safely with the winter weather, hits the blog Friday at 3.

Busy Tuesday 1/2

Hope you all had a great New Year, lots to get into, so gets get going.

Pittsburgh sent a trio of players down to Wilkes-Barre on Monday, Casey DeSmith, Andrey Pedan and Garrett Wilson were returned while Pittsburgh recalled Dominik Simon. Simon was a man against boys Saturday in Hershey when Pittsburgh swapped him for Daniel Sprong, who the Pens recalled earlier that day. Simon scored the overtime game winning goal against the Bears.

Pittsburgh continues to struggle offensively and while Sprong’s two-way game hasn’t rounded into complete form, everything I have read from the brass up top was that his scoring is a punch that the NHL team desperately need. My take is that with Simon wrecking shop against the Bears in Hershey, that the Pens find a way to get the duo into the lineup and start winning games. Pittsburgh visits Philadelphia tonight.

Wilkes-Barre recalled Cody Wydo and Reid Gardiner Tuesday morning, after their brief stint with the Nailers on Saturday.

In a separate transaction, with DeSmith back in town, the Pens released Adam Morrison from his PTO. Morrison returns to Wheeling.

Michael Leighton was not at practice Tuesday, according to Pens media, Casey DeSmith was in one net and Anthony Peters was in the other.

Tom dropped in with injury updates….

In a move that had no effect on the AHL Penguins, the Wheeling Nailers traded their fourth leading scorer, Hunter Fejes, to Orlando for Chris Francis and Michael Turner, who combined have a total of eight points between them. Fejes, the one constant for the Nailers this year amongst a turnstile of recalls to Wilkes-Barre, had 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points with the Nailers.

Seems strange to me, but then again, I don’t manage or coach these teams, I just blog about them.

Finally, Daniel Sprong was named AHL Rookie of the Month for December. Sprong had nine goals, three of them game winners and five assists good for 14 points in 12 games. Sprong joins John Curry and Jake Guentzel as former Penguins to be named rookie of the month. Amazingly, Guentzel and Curry were both rookies of the month of December as well. Must be something about that month.

Pens are back in action Wednesday at 7 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Gameday setup hits here Wednesday afternoon at 3.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 13

Happy New Year everyone and the Week 13 Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings are due.

After a hiccup Saturday, the Manitoba Moose are still your number one team as we flip to 2018.

A bit of a shake up to the rest of the top five as Toronto drops out and Lehigh Valley drops in. Providence is your new number two, Rochester drops to number three, Lehigh Valley debuts as number four and Charlotte remains in fifth.

After the Checkers, take a look at six on back if you didn’t link in here direct.

1

Last Week: SJ 3 @ MTB 2, SJ 2 @ MTB 5
16 game point streak ended Saturday in Game 1 against San Jose, but the Moose responded back with aplomb and won Game 2, keeping the Moose number one again.

n/a

This Week: @ CHI 1/5, @ IA 1/6
Record: 24-6-1-2

2

Last Week: PRO 5 @ UTI 4 (SO), PRO 3 @ UTI 1, PRO 2 @ BEL 3 (OT)
P-Bruins did what they needed to do this week, mining points out of every contest. Busy week coming upon with some hungry teams on the menu.

+1

This Week: vs. HFD 1/5, @ SPR 1/6, vs. SYR 1/7
Record: 21-8-3-0

3

Last Week: LAV 3 @ RCH 1, RCH 2 @ TOR 0, LAV 4 @ RCH 2
Despite going 1-2 for the week, the Amerks have chased down the Marlies for the top spot in the North which Toronto holds, for now.

-1

This Week: vs. BRI 1/5, vs. LV 1/6
Record: 20-8-3-3

4

Last Week: LV 5 @ WBS 4, CHA 1 @ LV 3, CHA 5 @ LV 2
Split a pair with the Checkers. Head to the class of the North Division this week.

+5

This Week: @ TOR 1/5, @ RCH 1/6
Record: 21-10-2-2

5

Last Week: CHA 2 @ BNG 6, CHA 1 @ LV 3, CHA 5 @ LV 2
1-2 this week, lost ground on first place Providence. A pair this week with Hershey, looking to make up that ground.

n/a

This Week: @ HER 1/6, @ HER 1/7
Record: 21-12-0-1

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

The Walking Wounded

It’s times like these when I miss baseball.

Guy goes out of a game in the second inning, limping off and is replaced. Later, in the fifth inning, the play by play guys cut down to the sideline reporter who reports up that the player is out with a knee injury and than an MRI has been scheduled for tomorrow. Manager comes in to his press conference the next day and says that the player that left the game the day before had an MRI that showed a tear in the meniscus and that he’s being referred to the surgeon and will be out of action for at least eight weeks.

In hockey, they speak in secret alphabet. Day-to-day, week-to-week, longer term, et cetra. It is what makes it a niche sport in my opinion because a casual fan doesn’t have time to listen to the coach speak with the media after the game and say he doesn’t have an update on the player that took the slapshot off the leg in the first period. I mean, do you think we are stupid?

Anyway, I can go on and on regarding this pet peeve of mine. The purpose of this entry today is to inform you of the following injuries affecting the organization at present.

Last night in their shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost Bryan Rust and Chad Ruhwedel to injury. The update this afternoon from Head Coach Mike Sullivan was as follows:

Before we get to the fallout, here’s Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins Head Coach Clark Donatelli’s update from the M*A*S*H unit:

Let’s unpack the transactions known so far. First, Coal Street sent Cody Wydo back to Wheeling. Pittsburgh recalled defenseman Frank Corrado. I don’t think that Pittsburgh may pull a forward up if Wilkes-Barre let Wydo go, it really doesn’t make sense to me to release then recall Wydo over the course of 24 hours if Pittsburgh was going to take someone for Rust.

I’ll update the story in a later edit once confirmations come down as to who exactly has been recalled, but you can expect Casey DeSmith to go up to back up Tristan Jarry, since Matt Murray, who played the whole 65 minutes plus shootout last night against Columbus, is day-to-day. As far as where it leaves the AHL team, with Michael Leighton day-to-day after he backed up DeSmith Wednesday, Coal Street may need two goaltenders from somewhere, as they don’t have any other goalies on NHL or AHL contracts to call upon. In Wheeling, Colin Stevens is on IR and the Nailers have Adam Morrison and Will King on the roster. They could call upon Anthony Peters again from Cincinnati, or go a different direction. They may need only one, depending on how bad the Leighton injury is, but let’s just assume they need two.

EDIT: Pittsburgh made three recalls. Casey DeSmith, Andrey Pedan and Garrett Wilson get the call. Pens place Kris Letang, Chad Ruhwedel and Bryan Rust on injured reserve.

Hopefully DeSmith gets to start a game. For Pedan, the Penguins want to get a look at him since he was the return for Derrick Pouliot. Pedan is a bite your lip type of player from my perspective. Some nights, he’s a beast. Others, he’s a bonehead. For Garrett Wilson, he is not what the fans were expecting in Daniel Sprong, but I am guessing that they have learned their lesson in not rushing him as they had with names like Luca Caputi, Beau Bennett, Eric Tangradi and the aforementioned Pouliot. To bring him up to have him sit, play seven minutes a night or stick him on a fourth line doesn’t do anything for him.

Coal Street in one fell swoop re-signed G Anthony Peters from ECHL Cincinnati to another PTO and Adam Morrison from Wheeling. The Nailers in a separate transaction reactivated Colin Stevens and will roll with him and Will King in goal for this weekend against Fort Wayne on the road Friday, Toledo Saturday and Indy Sunday at home.

Anthony Peters stayed busy in between his stints with Wilkes-Barre. He was involved in a goalie fight against Indy.

Pitchers and catchers report February 12, by the way.

Hartford is coming in Friday, the Wolf Pack are 6-1-1-2 in their last ten games. They will be without the services of Peter Holland, who was supsended two games earlier this week. Holland had three assists in the Wolf Pack’s win over the Penguins on December 15, and Vinni Lettieri, who was recalled to the Rangers on Thursday. Lettieri has 12 goals and 9 assists in 31 games for Hartford this season.

Pens travel to Hershey Saturday, and the Bears got a boost in the form of Nathan Walker who was re-assigned Thursday. Hershey has been struggling as bad as the Penguins have as of late, mired in sixth place in the Atlantic Division.

One more thing out the door, I wanted to bring back the Tyrell Goulbourne goal that should not have counted yesterday. I ran a morning update to my postgame story from last night with video highlights that Coal Street put out. In case you didn’t see, I’m just cutting and pasting from the morning update to keep it fresh.

Video Highlights: 

Tyrell Goulbourne’s goal should not have counted. Also, there is no reason why there should not have been a review of the goal. First, here it is with the benefit of slow motion.

From the AHL Rulebook on video review… In part, Rule 79.3, subsection vii…

79.3 Situations Subject to Video Review – The following are the only situations subject to video review by the Referee:

(vii) To determine whether the puck entered the net from underneath the net frame.

I would be interested to know if Tom or Tyler asked Clark after the game what explanation he was given on that play.

There wasn’t a Thursday follow-up from Tom or Tyler that I saw out of the Thursday practice updates. I would assume that the team moved on and let the tape speak for itself.

I’ll work an edit in later once Pittsburgh makes the DeSmith recall official as well as any other bodies they make take in light of today’s news. Check back here Friday at 3 for the Gameday setup against the Wolf Pack.