Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: The AHL

Power Rankings – Play That Funky Glenn Frey Music!

It’s a nearly all Pacific Division top five this week as the Stockton Heat take over the top spot in the Rankings this week unseating the Utica Comets.

If you don’t understand the headline, the Heat’s goal song is, “The Heat is On” by Glenn Frey. I think it is subtly awesome, personally.

The Heat are followed closely by the Ontario Reign, who took three of four points out of Stockton this weekend and the Bakersfield Condors who are on a hell of a run.

A note about Springfield, they bumped up big this week. Call it a market correction.

Here’s the whole list:

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1Boy that was a fun series with Ontario this past weekend. Heat remain tops in the Pacific with a shootout win Saturday. Home and home with Bakersfield this weekend. +1
2Reign get three of four points out of Stockton. They scored three power play goals Saturday against the Heat. +2
3Busy week for the Condors coming up who were in a run and gun with Silver Knights last weekend. One with Ontario and then a home and home with Stockton. Abbotsford in on Wednesday. +3
4Dropping Utica out of the top spot because last place Cleveland beat them. Toronto and Rochester on the menu this week. -3
5Important game Saturday in Providence coming. Wolf Pack beat Rochester in OT this past Saturday. n/a
6Swept Texas last week. This week: one in Chicago, one with Rockford, then three with the Moose. All winnable and the Admirals will be looking to move even higher in the Central.+2
7Busy February continues for this team. Five game road trip starts Wednesday in Belleville. +7
8Thunderbirds getting hot at the right time. This is the thick of the season. Trip to PA where the Thunderbirds haven’t had much luck this season. +14
9Every week I come to the standings expecting to see a new face on top of the Central and every week it is still Chicago. 3-3-2-2 in their last ten. Rockford got them twice this weekend. -2
10Wolves are floundering and the Moose go out to Abbotsford and get trounced. Now three with Milwaukee, the hottest team in the division? Eek!-7
11The wins over Chicago are nice, but it’s the rest of the division that the IceHogs have to figure out. Iowa and Milwaukee this week then a home and home with Grand Rapids. +6
12Marlies did not play this past week. Get Utica in an important midweek matchup then a home and home with Belleville. n/a
13Wild holding onto last playoff spot in the Central. Schedule is a bit heavy this week with a pair with the Wolves and one with Rockford. +3
14Took 4 of 6 out of Pennsylvania. Return home for key matchups with Laval and Toronto, suddenly winnable games for the Senators. +5
15Split a series with Tucson. I’m sorry but if you want to contend in this bloated division, you shouldn’t be giving points away to Tucson of all teams. Henderson stops in this week and the Silver Knights aren’t a pushover.-5
16Sweep the Moose at home in impressive fashion. Bakersfield and Colorado make for good tests for these Canucks.+14
17Six game February road trip continues this week in Colorado and Tucson. Winnable games to keep pace with the top two teams in the Pacific. -2
18Bears have losses wrapped around a win Saturday at home against Belleville where the power play saved the Bears (Hershey went 3/5) – trip out to see Providence and Bridgeport this weekend.-9
19Depleted by injuries and callups, again. But got a gutty win Friday at home against Rochester via shootout.-6
20Hit a bump midweek in a loss in Rochester and again Friday at home with Belleville. Very important games midweek with Charlotte for fifth in the division. -9
21Phantoms go 5-1-1 against the Bears this past Sunday with a big win. Problem is the other teams in the division. -3
22Rocky trip to the Atlantic, but managed to get loser points. Trip continues this week. -1
23Big showdown at home this week against the Penguins before the Monsters stop in.-3
24Won their only game this week against the Barracuda. Home and home against the Reign this weekend. +4
25Won Thursday in OT in Des Moines then got smoked the next night by the Wild. n/a
26Schedule doesn’t relent with Henderson this weekend. +1
27Split down in Charlotte. Host Rochester / Hershey / Hartford this week. -4
28Managed a win in Utica, which doesn’t happen much. Trip to Charlotte this weekend. +3
29Swept by Milwaukee. Grand Rapids then San Jose drop by. These are winnable, must win games for the Stars.-3
30Crunch continue to free fall, getting thumped by Laval three times. One more with the Rocket this week before a different opponent (Rochester) drops by this week.-6
31Busiest part of the month coming up here for the Barracuda who only play seven games this month. San Jose have three this week with San Diego and a pair in Texas.-2

Power Rankings – Comets, Again

Class of the field in the East is Utica. Class in the West is Stockton. It hasn’t been close all season. The Heat have a pair with the Reign this week and that may change, but for now, your top two teams this week are Utica and Stockton.

Here’s the whole list:

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1Still the team to beat in the division and conference. Ho hum.+1
2Good team on a hell of a run. Showdown at home this weekend with Ontario.+1
312 round shootout win Sunday over Texas in their only action in the week due to weather. Moose travel down to Texas his week looking to move closer to the Wolves in the standings.+1
4Reign head back west where the Stockton Heat await. Division lead implications at stake.+2
5Got their reinforcements back from them taxi squad and sit atop the Atlantic. 7-2-1-0 in their last ten and on a roll. Springfield and Rochester drop by this week. +2
6Hottest team in the Pacific is actually Bakersfield, who methodically took down the white hot Colorado Eagles.+2
7Have been blandly average but built up enough of credit to not let it affect their positioning in the standings. -2
8Great resurrection for Milwaukee. 8-1-0-1 has them as one of the hottest teams in the AHL.+3
9Beat a struggling Cleveland team. Everyone does that these days. Lehigh Valley sandwiched in between a stop in by Belleville.+6
10Season long winning streak ends in Bakersfield and the Eagles bring home a losing streak! -9
11One of the hottest teams in the division, hold the final spot which qualifies for a playoff spot. If they keep up this run of play, they won’t have to worry about that. +1
12Neat run that the Marlies are on, but we will see how good this team really is this Wednesday when they host the Comets.+5
13Stopped the skid in a tight affair in Wilkes-Barre, claiming OT victory. +3
14Extremely busy month continues with three straight against Syracuse.-5
15Beat up the last place San Jose Barracuda to adjust things a bit. Trip out to Bakersfield this week.+4
16Split with Rockford with identical 4-2 results. Host struggling Grand Rapids this week.-3
17Have hit a bit of a slide here. Home and home with Chicago doesn’t make things any easier. -7
18Saw a two goal lead turn into a two goal deficit Saturday in Hartford. This team will continue to struggle.-4
19Senators have been good recently but they head to the vipers pit known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania this week.+8
20Return home for six straight. Winnable games too. Bridgeport up this weekend. -2
21Amerks have hit a cold patch and host one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic this Wednesday when Wilkes-Barre stops by.-1
22Struggled this week, but still maintain the top three spot. Utica, Hartford and Providence this week is probably the toughest schedule in the AHL this week. n/a
23We think that the Islanders are the best last place team in their division, if that makes any sense.-2
24Nice bit if a turnaround after a struggle these past few weeks. Three straight in Laval, QC when these two teams are neck and neck in the North Division standings. +4
25Split with Ontario, head out to Des Moines for a pair with the Wild. +4
26Took them all weekend to get to Winnipeg to lose a 12 round shootout. Host the Moose this week, then the Admirals this weekend.-1
27Road trip continues to Abbotsford this week after a split in San Diego.-1
28Chance to get some points out of San Jose this weekend in their only game this week (Friday)+3
29Barracuda only play in seven contests this month. One of them with San Diego this Friday. +1
30Good chance that the 0-3 skid ends with struggling Tucson this weekend. -7
31Pair of 4-1 setbacks against Hershey this week. Schedule doesn’t get any easier, Chicago and Utica on the menu this week.-7

Power Rankings – Fly Like an Eagle

So they have flown under the radar for long enough and likely just keeping the seat warm for the team they dethroned from the top spot, but the Colorado Eagles are the new number one team in this weeks Power Rankings. This is a team that hasn’t lost in regulation since before Christmas, have a home ice advantage unlike anything in the AHL (need more cowbell!) and, oh by the way, have a boat load of games at the Budweiser Events Center coming up in the month of February.

Utica didn’t go far, Stockton stays the same and I finally put Manitoba over Chicago this week. We will see how long this holds.

Here is the whole list, in all it’s glory.

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1What Stockton and Ontario do ahead of them may not matter for the Eagles if they keep this run going. Haven’t lost in regulation since before Christmas. A lot of games in February are at home, and that’s a tough place for opponents to play.+5
2Never fear Utica fans, share your top spot with others for one week. The Comets are turning the North into a runaway. -1
3One game this past weekend and a huge win over the Reign. Trip up to the listless Canucks this weekend. n/a
4Managed a split with Abbottsford at home and keeping the Central race with Chicago modest. Stars stop in this week and a good chance the momentum keeps rolling.-2
5Points in three straight, despite a 1-0 shootout loss setback to Rockford on Saturday.+2
6I mean the wins against San Jose are fine, but you have to win games that matter and that game Saturday against the Heat mattered. Now the gap to first widens, slightly.-2
7A fourth horse has entered the Atlantic Division race. Didn’t like that shutout that the Phantoms came in and laid on Saturday, though.+3
8Condors are 8-1-1 in their last ten and have a showdown with the Eagles this weekend at home. +3
9Split in Texas and could have used all four points, but are 7-3 in their last ten. Showdown in Utica this weekend. +3
10IceHogs charging up the standings, points in four straight. Showdown with equally hot Milwaukee Wednesday.+8
11There isn’t another team hotter in the Central. The Admirals have turned things around and in a big way. Pasted Grand Rapids, OT win at home against the IceHogs Friday. Showdown this weekend in Chicago. +9
127-3 in their last ten, may be turning a corner and ready to get out of the Atlantic basement. That answer is coming this week, we think.+4
13Wild sweep a hapless Gulls team and beat Rockford in overtime. I think there is something there, but this is the same team that the Eagles humbled last weekend.+15
14Phantoms back to .500 with a big win home Sunday against the Bears. Is this the best team in Pennsylvania?+1
15Paste the Penguins Tuesday, which is par for the course, then edge the Islanders in OT at home Saturday and lose in Allentown on Sunday. This team is Superman when playing the Penguins and Clark Kent against everyone else.-7
16Bruins are injured and have guys up on taxi squad duty. Tough to win a lot of games in this current condition. -11
17Marlies with a good turnaround from last week, going to Grand Rapids last Monday and gritting out a win then thumping a rested Belleville side. Toronto may be the only team that could give Utica a run.+2
18OT win over Utica and then a blowout win in Syracuse. Yeah, it was a good week for the Charlotte Checkers. -5
19Silver Knights couldn’t ride the wave of success out of their comeback in Stockton the week prior and Colorado beat them twice at home. Right back on the horse (pun intended) against San Jose!-10
20Utica is turning the North into a runaway and Rochester isn’t doing much here to keep pace.-3
21Respectable 5-2-2-1 in their last ten, but last place in the Atlantic. There could be winnable games this week.+4
22Happens every year at this time. Springfield starts plummeting. 3-5-2 in their last ten and a tough schedule ahead. n/a
23Managed a split in Winnipeg which is something to build on when the Heat stop by this weekend.-2
24Yikes. 5 straight losses and 2-8 in their last ten. Hello North Division basement!-10
25Split the weekend with the Rocket, but they are so far behind on percentage and there are teams mid pack making a surge that a split isn’t enough at this point in the season. +1
26Roadrunners out of the basement, thanks to the listless play of the Gulls and Barracuda. Next two are in San Diego.+5
27Not a large sample size to go off of here due to lack of games. Schedule gets busy this week against Syracuse and Laval.-4
28Woof. Couple weeks ago had Syracuse as a team to watch. One win against a putrid Cleveland team to show for it this week.-1
29Double woof. 0-5 (technically 0-4-1) here. Toronto and Ontario come calling this week. Good luck.-5
30Are probably sick of playing Ontario by now. Good news is that they don’t see the Reign at all in February.-1
31Went to Iowa and got throttled. Colorado (uh-oh) drops by this Wednesday.-1

Power Rankings – Utica, Again

OK, so a quick note on these, they are based off of games through this past Sunday. I like having AHL puck to watch on a daily basis on AHL TV, but in situations (like these) you have to cutoff where you are going with these and put together a rankings. That’s where we are here and why they are out on a Monday as opposed to a Tuesday.

Utica reclaims the top spot in the Rankings this week hotly pursued by the Manitoba Moose, who are second. Stockton and Ontario are joined at the hip and the Providence Bruins round out the top five.

Here’s the whole list in all it’s glory. The Last Week column is back. Belleville didn’t play, so they remain in 23rd.

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1Tidy weekend sweep of the Syracuse Crunch show other teams in the division that if you come at the North Division Kings, you better not miss.+1
2Did what they had to and swept the Wolves at home. Now host the Canucks this weekend. Could it be a trap series for the Moose?+3
3I didn’t particularly like the way that the Heat coughed up a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Silver Knights Saturday night. Long week to stew on that before the Reign come calling. n/a
4Reign stay hot, outgunning the Roadrunners at home for a pair over the weekend and stay in step with the Heat in pursuit of the Pacific Division crown. Ontario has three games in hand on Stockton, too. Three of the next four are with last place San Jose.n/a
5Split a weekend pair with Bridgeport or took two out of three? Are still at the top of the division and will likely yo-yo with Hershey for a bit here. +1
6Swept Iowa at home this week. Eagles not getting enough credit with how good they really are. +9
7Wolves lead in the Central is now in serious danger after getting swept by second place Manitoba.-6
8Split with Hartford. Winnable games this week it would seem. +2
9Tenacious way to claw back for a win Saturday in Stockton. Clash of the Pacific Division titans this weekend when the Silver Knights host the white hot Colorado Eagles this weekend. +2
10Got some help back from the Rangers Sunday and were a lot more competitive against the Bears, who they managed a split with. +2
11Three straight with Tucson this week in Arizona, so this is a golden opportunity to make up some ground on the top four.+3
12Only played one game this week and won Wednesday in Utica. There’s talk of a lot of the North Division teams struggling, not Laval. 8-2 in the last ten. +4
13Split with Springfield and Lehigh Valley this week. It’s not bad, but also not that very good. Utica and Syracuse on the road this week.n/a
14Lost in Grand Rapids then split a pair at home against the Americans. +5
154 of 6 points isn’t bad, gives the Phantoms some breathing room on 7th in the division. +7
16Swept the Marlies at home in blowout and comeback fashion. Anomaly or are they pulling themselves out of the Atlantic basement for good?+9
17Split a pair in Cleveland. Everyone has been really average here of late in the division, Americans are one of them. -8
18IceHogs let Texas take 3 of 4 points from them this weekend. Iowa – Milwaukee – Chicago this week. +2
19Obliterated in Wilkes-Barre and in Hartford this week. It comes at a good time, as a lot of the teams in the North are struggling. -12
20Hottest team in the Central is actually Milwaukee, who haven’t lost in regulation in their last five games. +9
21Swept San Diego at home, now head east to Winnipeg to take on a white hot Moose side in what should be a decent enough test.+5
22Bleeding points away. Thunderbirds used to be all alone at the top of the division but now they have a lot of company.-14
23The Senators did not play this week. They host Toronto for a pair this weekend. n/a
24Light week for the Griffins who beat Cleveland (okay) and lost to Milwaukee (bad) – can’t do that if you want to contend with the Moose and Wolves of the world. -6
25Managed a split with Providence and then an OT win at home against the Thunderbirds.+5
26Took 3 of 4 away from Rockford this weekend. Trip up to Chicago this week. then Laval comes in for a weekend pair. Haven’t lost in regulation in four games, so like Milwaukee, the division may be a bit upside down.+5
27Well, that wasn’t good, swept in a home and home against the Comets. Cleveland drops by Wednesday. -10
28Swept in Colorado in a pair of close contests. Seems like it is a step forward and a step backwards with this club. -7
29Nice to pick up a win Sunday against Bakersfield. There’s time to push, but three against Ontario makes for an uphill climb!-5
30Swept in Abbotsford. Host a very good Colorado side Wednesday then travel to ornery Iowa this weekend.-2
310-5 against an array of opponents (good and bad) – this team may be cooked already.-4

Power Rankings – Sure, Why Not?

Well, until the next COVID wave derails this little enterprise.

Wait, did I say that out loud? I guess I did. Anyway, I last did this in the middle of December, after returning it from a week or so hiatus before that, so it is consistently inconsistent.

With that said (I meant to this time) I have decided to wipe the slate clean and just start over. So that’s why the “Last Week” part of the Power Rankings you have all come to know and love is absent this week. Provided COVID doesn’t rip through and kill off half the games this week, we will be back next week, and so forth.

Hopefully.

Anyway, here’s the whole list in all of its goodness.

RankTeamBlurb
1Have been class of the Central by far, but there is too much competition to think the Wolves will have a runaway at the division crown.
2Have been class of the Eastern Conference by far, and I don’t think there is any competition where it won’t be a runaway for the Comets at the #1 seed in the North.
3Have been class of the Pacific but…
4…the Reign have games in hand (3) and five more head to heads with the Heat. Will be an interesting race to watch down the stretch.
5Moose are like a bad headache. Always there. Keeping the Wolves honest and have points in seven straight.
6Went to the top of the Atlantic on Sunday and will probably stay there. Deep, well coached team.
7Bruising club that gets two in a struggling Wilkes-Barre this weekend.
8Have played .500 hockey in the last ten games. One of a long line of teams just coming back online after a COVID outage.
9Hanging around the top of the North, waiting for Utica to slip and keeping third place Toronto at bay.
10You can only play the teams on your schedule and Hershey has absolutely mauled the Penguins of late. Very average against everyone else.
11Stockton and Ontario have had all the fun, but here’s Henderson laying in the weeds.
12Keith Kinkaid’s renaissance in goal is something to behold. The Wolf Pack have the second best goals against in the division.
13I had this team pegged as a midpack team at the start of the season and that’s exactly who they are.
14Points in nine straight. Those COVID antibodies are something, I’ll tell ya.
15Feasting on bad teams in Tucson and Milwaukee so far in 2022. Schedule tightens bit with Eric Staal and the Iowa Wild this weekend.
167-2-0-1 in their last ten which isn’t bad for a team who COVID hit the hardest.
17The Crunch are coming for your souls. Just wait.
18Grand Rapids looks like it wants to contend with the Moose and Wolves, but when given the chance (like these last three games against the aforementioned Moose and Wolves), the Griffins stumble.
19Monsters have played good Central Division teams and well, the results have been typical.
20Rockford. Probably a playoff team. They are your schools most consistent C student.
21Pair of huge wins over the Central’s best Chicago should have Iowa higher here but it doesn’t. Gotta continue to build off of that.
22Come out of COVID protocol on the wrong end of decisions against the Penguins and Marlies.
23Belleville is still a very good team despite its dead last showing in the North.
24Last place in the Pacific but playing better hockey of late than the three other teams in the division yet to be named here.
25Finally off the schnide with big wins against in state rivals Hershey and Lehigh Valley.
26Ontario Monday sandwiched the four other games against San Diego the Canucks are playing in this stretch.
27I mean there is no shame in losing to Stockton, but getting shutout against San Jose is bad.
28I don’t think any of the residents of San Diego have to worry about shoveling snow this week, so there’s that.
29Admirals and Stars are playing class clowns of the Central.
30Schedule is relentless for the Islanders the rest of the month; two against Providence then Springfield and Hershey. Yikes.
31Stars are the last team in the AHL to hit ten wins. They still are on just nine.Maybe Wednesday against Milwaukee?

Pens / Americans Postponed

This is getting old.

Includes Penguins at Rochester with the explanation as follows: “The American Hockey League today announced that due to league COVID-19 protocols affecting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins…”

This isn’t working. The NHL hit pause on their season early, I think it is high time for the AHL to do the same.

No, Canada! – 12/21 Pens at Marlies Postponed

Includes the December 21 game the Penguins were supposed to play up North. Instead, the Pens will just head to Rochester where they will play the Americans on Wednesday.

Logistically, this is a nightmare. The Pens and Marlies play four times this season, two home and two away. Wilkes-Barre isn’t scheduled to go back to Toronto till March 23. That’s a Wednesday. My guess is that it will likely be a back to back to some type, either a Tuesday-Wednesday or a Wednesday-Thursday. If they do Thursday, they have to make an exception because the League eliminated four games in five nights a few years back. After the Pens head to Rochester, they are finished with the Americans this season, so it’s not like they can just cross over the next time they play Rochester, after Wednesday there is no next time.

Probably worse for Toronto, because their two games at Grand Rapids this weekend were also postponed. Again, logistical nightmares.

More tomorrow after the Hershey game. I just can’t commit to putting a preview series out when everything is so volatile.