Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: The AHL

Postpone / Re-Schedule / Re-Schedule

Wednesday’s game against Hershey postponed to next Tuesday, December 14. Last Saturday’s game with Charlotte moved to Wednesday, April 13 at 7:05.

Yes, teams are slowly getting back to practice, but with 12 or fewer skaters and with one goaltender, on the photos I saw from Hershey’s practice and Providence. The same case likely applies to Wilkes-Barre as well.

Penguins have game scheduled for this Saturday against Hershey and this Sunday against Springfield. For now.

All Games Postponed This Weekend

I am not surprised.

Next scheduled games are Wednesday and Saturday at home against Hershey and Sunday at home against Springfield. We will see what happens then.

More, as it comes.

Schedule Alterations

I’m actually quite surprised it has taken as long as it has for COVID to find its way into AHL locker rooms. You may or may not have heard about a boat load of schedule postponements* and other changes to the AHL schedule affecting many AHL Atlantic Division teams (Hershey, Providence, Hartford, etc.) for games scheduled for this week.

At this point, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are clear of COVID (as best they can be playing a physical sport in the midst of a pandemic) and are scheduled to play two of the three games originally scheduled for this weekend. They are:

At Syracuse Friday.
Home against Charlotte Satuday.

Their Sunday game against Hershey, in Hershey was postponed by the League Wednesday, along with a bevy of changes affecting a lot of teams.

Two other changes to note, swap the opponents for the Penguins home games scheduled for March 18 and 19. It was originally going to be Utica on Friday, March 18 and Syracuse on Saturday, March 19. Swap it. Syracuse is here Friday, March 18 and Utica is here the next night on March 19.

No makeup date has been announced for the December 5 game in Hershey yet.

Weekend Preview will still hit Friday morning, setting up Syracuse and Charlotte.

* – there is a difference between, “cancelled” (it has been stricken from the schedule) and “postponed” (it has been delayed) please utilize caution.

Power Rankings – Real Americans

I debated leaving Utica as the number one team again this week, but Rochester was the only team thus far to hand the Comets a regulation loss, so in situations like this, the team that beats the team that was at the top gets the rub.

But don’t worry, the Comets remain a very good team. Not many teams go into Charlotte and sweep the Checkers. The Comets did just that this past weekend.

Springfield and Hartford remain joined at the hip and tread into Utica and Rochester’s waters this week trying to separate themselves from one another in a two horse race in the Atlantic.

Here’s the whole list. A lot of mediocrity out there.

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1Amerks continue to throttle teams but because everything is done on percentage points this season, trail second place Cleveland by a few. Friday’s showdown in with Springfield should be the AHL’s free game of the week on AHLTV.+8
2Only really, really, really good teams go into Charlotte and sweep the Checkers. Utica did that this weekend.-1
3Split their weekend series with Hartford where the home team won each game. Busy week with a stop in Rochester Friday which could be a test for the Atlantic Division leading Thunderbirds.n/c
4Speaking of tests, Hartford has passed all theirs with flying colors thus far. Big week ahead with division heavies on the schedule then a Saturday date with the Comets at home.n/c
5Three out of four or, if you want to take it back even further, 5 out of 6 points out of Toronto, who is hotly contesting with the Monsters the chase and pace the Comets and Americans are setting in the North thus far.+2
6OK, so a bad week in comparison to the torrent pace set by the Heat thus far with two regulation losses. San Diego comes in this weekend, hot on Stockton’s tail. -4
7Are 5-0 against Grand Rapids this season, 11-3-1 against Central Division foes. Played Grand Rapids Sunday and won. Really all you need to be is good in your own division to have success.+10
8Spilt with Stockton at home then ice issues at Toyota Arena postponed contests with Bakersfield and San Jose.-3
9So the Bruins go close to 1000 miles on the road in the span of 72 hours and pick up 5 of 6 points in the process. Very, very impressive. +2
10Getting Matt Murray down from Ottawa, if he even reports, should be a huge boost for a Belleville side making a bit of a push here, 7-3 in their last ten.+9
11Took 3 of 4 away from Stockton, which is no small feat. Homestand continues with a pair against the Roadrunners. +12
12Smashed the Stars at home. Are 7-3 in their last ten. Head east for dates with Belleville twice and Laval this week and next.+3
13Coughed up three goals in 98 seconds in Henderson Sunday, otherwise would have been a sweep of the Silver Knights. Now three with the division leading Wolves staring the Wild right in the face this week.-7
14Fumbled a bit with losing a few games to Cleveland, division looks a little top heavy so the Marlies are good for now. Springfield and Laval drop by this weekend. -6
15Only won once this week. A lot of mediocrity in the Atlantic, Charlotte is in amongst it.-3
16We talk a lot about mediocrity in the Atlantic, and we have found our mediocre Central Division team. It’s Grand Rapids. No consistency with this team.-6
17Pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and – don’t look now – are up to fifth in the Pacific after sweeping Abbotsford at home. Heading into Colorado this weekend.+10
18Use three goals in :98 to blow past a flat footed Iowa side on Sunday. Just one game this week up in Bakersfield.-4
19Bears have a COVID issue they are dealing with which is postponing their contest with Lehigh Valley this Wednesday. Beat Providence in OT last Wednesday then were throttled in Rochester Friday.-1
20Gulls won four straight over last place San Jose which may have artificially inflated their stock a bit. Real test comes this weekend with a pair in Stockton.+5
21Schedule isn’t kind to the Condors this week. A midweek game in Stockton followed by a date against the pesky Silver Knights then the Reign comes in Saturday. +1
22Split a weekend with Chicago (loss) and Milwaukee (win) – may have lost their top two leading scorers (Lukas Reichel and Brett Connolly) to injury. Rematch in Milwaukee this week then a pair in Western Michigan. -6
23COVID has pillaged the Islanders with recalls up top, coupled with the fact Bridgeport was on the road for five straight or 7 of their last 9. Four at home coming now, but against all rough opponents.+7
24Swept in Winnipeg by the Moose. Head east to take on Laval for the first time ever this week then they are home for 11 straight games. After this Friday, Texas doesn’t go on the road until January 15. -4
25Mediocrity continues. Let a Providence team with 1000 bus miles under them out pace them in the third period on Saturday. Busy week ahead of some winnable games, but are they?-12
26Split a weekend series with Rockford, who the Admirals host Wednesday before heading to Cleveland.+5
27Winless in their last four, host a Texas side for the rare Western Conference – Eastern Conference clash.-3
28You can’t drop four straight games to an opponent like the Barracuda did with the Gulls over the span of these last two weeks. Heading to Abbotsford this weekend. Four out of the next five is against the Canucks.-2
29Less than ideal trip to the desert against the Roadrunners. Only on 11 points and starting to lose touch with the rest of the division.-8
30If you take away the win the Crunch had over Lehigh Valley (everybody is beating the Phantoms these days) you have to go back to November 6 for Syracuse’s last win. Injuries have killed all of Syracuse’s momentum.-2
31Couldn’t even beat barely an ECHL squad in equally as putrid Bridgeport on Saturday. Winless in their last seven. Three wins is a league worst by far.-2

Power Rankings – The Utica W(x13)agon

Typing out thirteen ‘W’s’ in a row in the headline seemed like overkill here, given it is Thanksgiving week and the Utica Comets still have yet to be dealt a setback of any type whatsoever in their contests. A remarkable feat and a record broken. The Utica Comets remain the undisputed number one team in the AHL Power Rankings this week.

Stockton remains number two after also not losing in regulation, but there are two overtime losses mixed in there. Not too much shakeup in the top five this week.

Here’s the whole list, in all it’s glory:

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
113-0 and still haven’t lost. At this point, it’s checking the schedule to see when the Comets may be in trouble. I don’t see it this week. Maybe next week.n/c
2Asserted dominance over Ontario Sunday in their only match of the week Sunday. Rematch later today.n/c
3So there is an epic clash this weekend between the red hot Springfield Thunderbirds, who swept the weekend, against the Hartford Wolf Pack who are equally as hot.+1
4Wolf Pack haven’t lost in five straight and have a shot to overtake Springfield at the top of the Atlantic in home and home action this coming weekend. +1
5Got beat at home over a very good Stockton team on Sunday. A chance at payback later today. +1
6Split a pair with Tucson. Lead the Central by the slimmest of margins.+8
7Up to second in the North now after a perfect week with a sweep of the Crunch and a Sunday OT win over the Marlies. +12
8Have needed extra time in their last four games. Are up to third in the division.-1
9Is it a good week for the Amerks when they lose twice to the buzzsaw Comets and need a shootout to beat the hapless Phantoms?-6
10All three contests went to overtime for the Griffins this week. Points are good this time of year. +5
11There’s no consistency with this team, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering everyone and their mother makes playoffs. Busy Thanksgiving week for the Bruins, playing in three contests. +1
12There’s no consistency with this team either. 5-5 in their last ten.-4
13It’s amazing what a little help from Pittsburgh will do for a team. This standard also applies to just about any AHL squad.+9
14Split a pair of close contests in Colorado. Host Iowa this weekend.-5
15Beat up on a hapless Milwaukee side this week. Home stand continues with Texas this week.+3
16If the IceHogs play the way they did when they took on the Wolves for a home and home, Rockford is not near the Central basement for much longer.+11
17Time to pump the brakes on the Wolves? Maybe. Chicago finds ways to get points and are still in the mix in the North, but they aren’t going to run away with the lead in this competitive division. -7
18Exposed a bit in Hartford Saturday, up 3-2 and lost 7-3. May not even be the the third or fourth best team in the division.-7
19Senators were good in their only action this past week against Laval. Very winnable games coming up here where the Senators can start making a move out of the North Division basement.+5
20Pair up in Winnipeg against the Moose next weekend. Split OT wins with the Griffins last weekend.+3
21Leaving the Canucks where they were last week because they didn’t play this week due to flooding in and around the Fraser Valley. Smart call. All the best to the City of Abbotsford.n/c
22Had their trip to Abbotsford postponed due to flooding there. Lost to San Jose last Wednesday. Contests with the Reign and Gulls this week.-9
23Split home contests with Henderson. Stockton drops by this week.+2
24Beat the Marlies in a shootout midweek then dropped the first of what’s going to be three with the Senators.-4
25Swept the Barracuda up in San Jose this past weekend. Now, San Jose returns the favor this weekend for a pair in San Diego.+5
26Well, they didn’t give up seven this week at any point but they did beat Bakersfield midweek and were swept by the Gulls.-9
27Split in Iowa. Are out of the Pacific basement. Host Abbotsford this weekend.+1
28Haven’t won in five contests. The Crunch are becoming a footnote in the North Division. -12
29Winless in their last five and no, I still don’t see a winnable game on the schedule for the Phantoms this week. n/c
30Islanders can’t get out of the block the right way in most games and it sticks with them. Winless in their last five.-4
31Salvaged a win in Manitoba Sunday. Are the only team in the AHL in single digits on points. n/c

Power Rankings – The Utica Wagon

With a 10-0 start to the season, the Utica Comets remain the #1 team in the Power Rankings for the third week in a row.

Hartford replaces Ontario in the top five but the Reign didn’t drop far.

Here’s the whole list, in all their glory…

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1One win away from tying the best start by an AHL team to start the season. The last team to do it is the team the Comets play this week, the Rochester Americans.n/c
2So I like to watch this team play, and I can tell you that they grind you down. They played a competitive series against Henderson this past weekend at home. Big game this Sunday in Ontario.+1
3I mean the only thing you can go right now if you are any team in the North Division not named Utica is be the best team not named Utica, and that’s Rochester right now.+2
4This team keeps rolling, despite a setback at home against Hartford this past Friday. Penguins, then a home and home against Bridgeport coming up this week.n/c
5Color us shocked that the Wolf Pack are still contending here in mid-November, coming off statement wins over Springfield and Hartford.+5
6Reign will be well rested for their Sunday clash at home against an equally rested Stockton team after splitting a pair in Tucson last week.-4
7Roughed up the Wolves this weekend in Chicago and there aren’t many teams that can do that. Keep an eye on the Marlies.+7
8Took 4 of 6 out of Pennsylvania this past weekend. The big matchup is this Friday in Utica.+4
9Played competitive hockey with Stockton this week. Winnable games in Colorado this weekend.+2
10Gave up out of conference points and may have been exposed a bit. Rest of the division has caught up, for now.-4
11I’m going to call this a stumble for the Bears. Just a shootout win over Syracuse to show for the week.-4
12Last week stock up, this week is stock down for the Bruins who get Hartford again this Friday.-3
13Swept a home and home with San Diego, up to third in the division. Busy week with San Jose and Abbotsford coming.+9
14The stock up and stock down with Providence we talked about above applies here to Iowa. Either that or Milwaukee isn’t a very good team.+5
15Will face a snarly Wolves team in kids day game Wednesday then it’s off to Texas.-7
16Crunch will be looking to get back on track this week in Cleveland.-3
17Barracuda stay competitive but gave up seven again this week, this time to Abbotsford.n/c
18Three with the lowly Admirals this week at home. Iowa and Chicago look to be sputtering, this is Manitoba’s chance.-2
19Split with Rochester. Better than the week prior. Host Syracuse for a pair this week.+6
20Nice battles this week with the Islanders and Comets. Big test this week against Toronto.+9
213 out of 4 points this weekend against San Jose to right the ship. Condors are coming in next.+9
22When this team scores a power play goal (currently 0 for their last 36) come get me. Otherwise, this is a below average team in an average division.-4
23Good chance to make up some ground this week with a pair against the Griffins.+1
24No one can fault the Senators for losing to the Comets, but everything else (loss to Laval, win against Bridgeport) is up in the air.-3
25Split a pair in Texas. They are looking like they are turning a corner. Big test with the Silver Knights coming up.-2
26A win in Syracuse and one point in their Canadian trip was all the Islanders took from the week. Better week than Hershey, Wilkes-Barre and Providence, but the Islanders sit behind these teams at present.-6
27Played one game and lost. Get the Wolves this week for a home and home.-12
28Good response by the Roadrunners who dropped eight goals on Ontario on Friday. Honorary Pacific Division member Iowa drops by this weekend.+3
29I don’t see any winnable games for this teams this weekend.-3
30Travel up to San Jose this week for a pair with the Barracuda. Dropped a pair against Bakersfield this past weekend.-2
31This team stinks and the schedule isn’t going to relent.-4

Power Rankings – U-ti-ca! (x2)

Comets stay undefeated, talk a little smack in the process and remain the number one team in the Power Rankings this week.

One team, the Chicago Wolves, drop out of the top five this week. They didn’t go far, they are sixth, and the Rochester Americans jump into the top five.

The three teams which have yet to lose in regulation round out the top three.

Here’s all 31, in order…

RankTeamBlurbLast Week
1 7-0 and still at the top of the rankings here. Utica has done everything right and then some. Tops in power play AND penalty kill, this team is tough to beat.n/c
2Still haven’t lost in regulation. We think that continues this weekend in Tucson.n/c
3Heat still haven’t lost in regulation and play a gritty, grinding style of hockey as evidenced by their two close wins against Abbotsford at home this past weekend.+2
4Dealt first regulation loss of the season Sunday in Hershey but that shouldn’t slow this Springfield team down. Tough tests this weekend with Providence and Hartford coming up.
-1
5Amerks look like a good team in an average division. Midweek trip to Wilkes-Barre then they host Cleveland for a pair this weekend.+6
6Split the weekend with a loss against the Moose and a win against the Admirals. Wolves face a Toronto Marlies side they haven’t played in years this weekend in Rosemont.-2
7It was an OK weekend for the Bears who took 3 of 6 points out of the weekend. Bears are in the mix in mid-November, where you would expect them to be.
+1
8Buy stock in Grand Rapids. We think. Talk to us next week after the Moose come in for a pair.+11
9There are teams that have been punching under their weight and Providence is one of them. Impressive week for the P-Bruins taking down Wilkes-Barre and shutting out Hershey this weekend.
+16
104 of 6 points out of the weekend 3-in-3 for the Wolf Pack which is not bad at all. Hartford is second in a competitive Atlantic Division.
n/c
11Swept what is looking like a fumbling Roadrunners team. Big, big test coming this weekend in Stockton.+12
12Split a pair with the Phantoms this weekend at home. Checkers are going to see a lot of the Penguins in November.+6
13The ol’ Wednesday-Thursday-Saturday for the Crunch this week with visits from the Islanders and Bears bookending a trip to Utica Thursday.+1
14Split the weekend with a win in Rochester and a loss by first place Utica. Marlies head west to Chicago for a weekend set with the Wolves in an intra-conference matchup.+7
15IceHogs one of the last AHL teams to have a home opener and they pick up a big win Sunday against the Manitoba Moose. Iowa and Chicago are in this week at the BMO.+11
16Not a good weekend for the Moose but Manitoba is still OK standings wise. Six game road trip continues in Milwaukee and Grand Rapids.-4
17Scored seven and gave up seven against Texas this weekend with a patchwork team due to COVID running rampant inside the Sharks organization. -4
18Hafta figure out the power play. 0-for-20 funk. Dropped all three games as a result.-12
19Said last week that the Wild may be the only team to run with the Wolves, may have to re-work that statement after a close overtime loss to Grand Rapids and then the pasting Milwaukee laid on Saturday. Oh, well.-10
20Canadian road trip for the Islanders coming up with Laval and Belleville on the docket. Bridgeport salvages the weekend with a win against in state rival Hartford on Sunday.n/c
21More weekends like this past, close game in Rochester then sweeping the Monsters in Cleveland, and the Senators won’t be in last place in the North Division for much longer.+7
22Condors will be looking to get back in the win column after a pair of setbacks to San Diego and Ontario.-7
23Eagles stayed busy last week and played in four games and won three of them. Would have been epic if they toppled the Reign Sunday.+7
24Scored seven and gave up seven in San Jose this weekend.-8
25Swept at home by last place Belleville, will be looking to get on track this weekend in Rochester. -18
26Split a pair in Charlotte this past weekend after picking up their first win at home last Wednesday against the Penguins. Does Head Coach Ian Laperriere’s seat stay warm?+5
27Perfect weekend bid spoiled in Chicago on Sunday. Milwaukee is 3-5 but there is a lot of time left.+2
28Split a pair of 3-2 decisions this weekend at home against Bakersfield and Colorado. More Bakersfield, please! Twice more this weekend. -1
29Canadians are trash, and some of that seeps to the farm in Laval. Rocket set up shop in Central New York and were shutout in Syracuse and another notch in Utica’s belt.-7
30Played Stockton tight on the road this weekend and will host San Jose this weekend. No wins in their last four games. -6
31Things aren’t getting any easier for Tuscon who will host the high flying Reign this weekend.-14