Chirps from Center Ice

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

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Join My Team

So I have been running this blog now for the better part of seven years. That’s a long time. I’d like to think that I have carved out a niche as the go to blog as far as the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are concerned. There is a lot more work that goes into just coming up with goofy pun headlines for every story.

This is normally how a week would start and finish for me:

Sunday: Complete the AHL Power Rankings due Monday at 4.

Monday: AHL Power Rankings roll out at 4. Build next weeks power rankings board.

Tuesday: Used to be feature pieces on either a stat board or the Wheeling Wrap.

Wednesday: Gameday setup for the Wednesday WBS game, if applicable.

Wednesday night: Postgame recap for the Wednesday WBS game, if applicable.

Thursday: News and notes, if any. Normally there is no post this day.

Friday: Setting up the Gameday posts for Friday, Saturday and Sunday if applicable.

Friday night: Postgame recap for the Friday WBS game, setting up the Saturday Gameday post.

Saturday: Postgame recap for the Saturday WBS game.

That’s essentially just the tip of the iceberg.

Gameday posts require putting together the who / when and where of the opponent, what each team did last game, what the last meeting between the two teams resulted in, the record for each team, coming up with a reason why people should care about the game, looking up who is assigned to work the game, the promotion running that night, the other game to watch and the next five games on the schedule.

Postgame recaps are the easiest. I just follow what I tweet during the game and build paragraphs around it.

Power Rankings can be a chore. You have to go into each teams capsule and update their final scores and record and then come up with blurbs for each team, rank them, then get the HTML right.

The stat boards got tiresome for me because it was breaking down game sheets and listing when each guy was on the ice for a goal scored for and against whether even strength, short handed or on power play.

Wheeling Wrap seemed like a chore at the end of the season when the Nailers were well out of it. All those entailed were brief recaps of each game (usually just going off of the score sheet) plus whatever tidbits the team tweeted out either during or after each game. You’d then have to look up who the Nailers were playing each week. Here’s an example of one from last year.

I eliminated the stat board last year and the Wheeling Wrap this year because it took too much of my time. When it’s Sunday night at 10:30 after a 3:05 start at home against Syracuse and you are still staring at your computer putting the finishing touches on a stat board, the Wheeling Wrap or the Power Rankings (because you have to wait for the Pacific Division scores to go final) when you have work the next morning, it becomes more of a chore more than anything.

So, I have been thinking about bringing on one or two people to help out around here. Here’s what I would look for…

– If you are into stats and are good with spreadsheets, I’d give you full autonomy on bringing back the charts I used to track players on ice for goals scored. Example here of the last time I did one.

– Gameday setups. Even if I found only one person to take the reigns of this, that would ease the burden of being constantly in the blog during the season when I am not at my regular job, or at a game.

– Wheeling Wrap. Again, if you are someone who either attends Nailers games or enjoyed these so much to where you’d like to contribute, I’d give you full authority once a week to come on here and write about the Nailers week that was.

– Power Rankings. Wanna help build them with me and add final scores? I’d even let you in on blurbs and ranking position.

Postgame recaps are mine. If by the off chance I’m not able to be at a game and you are and you want to pitch hit, I’d let you.

The only thing I would ask for is that you are 100% consistent in whatever task you are signing up for. That means that if you want to go ahead and volunteer for the Gameday setups, they are yours for 70+ games. Don’t make me come after you for getting your stuff in on time. The blog has been nothing but consistent in that the Gameday setups always go out four hours before puck drop, the Power Rankings are out every Monday at 4 p.m., and whatever feature piece that ran on Tuesday was out at noon that day.

Note that this isn’t me giving up on the blog or looking to turn it over to someone else. I figure that if there is a person or persons out there that wants to lend a helping hand with the way things are put out here on the blog, then we can make it work for the betterment of the blog and the people who read the blog. If not, then I’ll continue to churn the content out as the one man band.

On whether this is a paying job, since I am waiting for my first paycheck for doing this for seven years, you will get yours when I get mine.

Contact form follows. Fill it out and I will be in touch.

GAMEDAY: vs. Lehigh Valley 4/12

 

vs.     lv14

Home Game: 36

AHL Game: 1085

Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Sunday in Providence, the Penguins wrapped up the Atlantic Division Championship and beat the P-Bruins 2-1. Cody Wydo and Jarrett Burton scored for the Penguins and Casey DeSmith stopped 33 of 34. For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms were last in action Saturday and beat the Springfield Thunderbirds at home 4-2. Corbnan Knight had a goal and an assist as did Andy Miele.

Last Meeting: This past Friday in Allentown, the Penguins shutout the Phantoms for the third consecutive game in a row by a 3-0 score. Tristan Jarry stopped all 21 shots sent his way and Oskar Sundqvist scored two goal and notched an assist.

Record: For WBS: 50-19-3-1 (104 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) — For LV: 45-23-5-0 (95 pts., 2nd place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: In the regular season, these last three games are meaningless for the Penguins. They have already wrapped up a playoff spot, the division championship and home ice throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs if they get that far. Wilkes-Barre may dress a much more inexperienced lineup to give the regulars a rest. Lehigh Valley still has a lot to play for, having not yet secured a playoff spot. But can they score a goal?

Referee(s): Evgenii Romasko / Terry Koharski

Linesmen: Ryan Daisy / Jud Ritter

Twitter: @WBSPenguins and @WBSGameDay / @LVPhantoms

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins / /LehighValleyPhantoms

Instagram: wbspenguins / lehighvalleyphantoms

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TomVenesky / @SteveGrossMCall

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS and @_NickHart / For Lehigh Valley: Bob Rotruck @BobRotruck

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @KRAM209

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Lehigh Valley: Fox 1470

Television: AHL Live 

Promotion(s): None.

Other Game to Watch: Charlotte visits Grand Rapids in a key Central Division battle. The Checkers are pushing for a playoff spot, the Griffins are pushing for a Central Division Championship.

Remaining Games: vs. HER 4/14, vs. BRI 4/15

Blog of the Year Nomination

The fine folks that coordinate the NEPA BlogCon are handing out their yearly Blog of the Year Awards. 

This blog, Chirps from Center Ice, was nominated again. First, I’d like to thank you for nominating the blog again. I don’t nominate myself. 

Click here to be brought to the voting page. There are other categories to vote on also. Chirps from Center Ice is under the, “Best Sports Blog” category. 

Thank you.

Schedule Soon, Other Notes

Real quick one today.

The NBA has their schedule, so the AHL can start finalizing theirs. The NBA announced their schedule last week, so I would expect that the AHL will have their schedule by the end of this week.

No rush. I am enjoying the summertime.

Out the door, Clark Seymour and James Melindy have new homes. Seymour was a little used defensive fill-in and Melindy was a throw in for the Dustin Jeffrey trade that never played a game in Wilkes-Barre. Seymour signed with HC Bolzano in the EBEL and Melindy signed with Wichita in the ECHL.

So there is that. I updated the 2016 Offseason Moves List and put one last edit in on the big board, which as you see if you didn’t link in direct is no longer pinned to the top of the site. You have to scroll down now if you didn’t bookmark.

Will probably drop a line here again when the “schedule is coming tomorrow” announcement is made. An announcement about an announcement!

Go outside and jump in the pool while you still can!

They’re Going the Distance…

The Hershey Bears got all the offense they needed in the first period of Game 4 tonight and force a decisive Game 5 with a 2-0 win tonight at home tonight against the Portland Pirates.

So the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins opponent, and schedule for said opponent, will need to wait another day.

The winner take all Game 5 goes off from Hershey Sunday at 5.

Pearls Before Quine — Pens LOSE 5-2

BRI         vs.         WBS

5                                              2

I called the Sound Tigers, ‘dastardly’ in this afternoons Gameday setup on the blog.

Name me three teams that you don’t want to face come playoff time. Hershey is one, Toronto is one and likely Providence the other. You are forgetting about Bridgeport. Something about this Sound Tigers team gives the Penguins fits.

The Pens put 40 shots up on Sound Tigers goalie Chris Gibson tonight and still lost. It wasn’t even close. Here was a tweet that summed up the night, pretty much…

Pens couldn’t do anything with the presence that they had in the offensive zone. Every shot was blocked. Every pass deflected. Every would be shot stopped by Gibson.

One of those nights.

The Penguins lost 5-2 to the Sound Tigers. With Portland, in tomorrow, beating Hartford tonight, the magic number drops to two. A win of any kind Sunday by Wilkes-Barre and they are in.

Tristan Jarry started his ninth consecutive game and was pulled after two periods when the score was 4-0 and well out of reach for the Penguins. Not for nothing, head coach Clark Donatelli tried different line combinations and replaced Jarry in net with Brian Foster. Foster’s only blemish was a puck that got away from him from behind his net that caromed to James Wright which at the time made it 5-1. Dominik Simon scored :32 into the third to cut the lead to 4-1.

The damage was done in the second period. The Penguins, already trailing 1-0 after the first period on an Alan Quine rebound he followed on a Sound Tigers power play, saw Bridgeport score three times.

And it was probably the best period that the Penguins played.

Quine added his second goal of the game finishing a nice cross ice pass from Mike Halmo that made it 2-0.

Quine completed the natural hat trick when he busted by three Penguins watching him and threw a seemingly weak backhanded shot at Jarry that hit the bar and went in for a 3-0 lead.

The Penguins, frustrated by what the Sound Tigers were giving them, couldn’t score on the periods only power play then saw a shot get blocked which led to a rush the other way for the Sound Tigers and a goal when a Pat Nullity shot from the blue line hit Connor Jones on the way in for a 4-0 Bridgeport lead.

The rout was on. If playoffs started today, the Penguins would be facing off against Bridgeport in the opening round. The Sound Tigers went 5-1 against the Penguins in the seasons series.

Mattias Plachta scored his first as a Penguin on a nice wrist shot late in the third with the game already decided. Donatelli used his time out to draw something up with Foster pulled but the Penguins could not get any closer.

Three Stars: 3) Connor Jones (goal, assist, +2) 2) James Wright (goal, two assists, +2) and 1) Alan Quine (natural hat trick, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey sees the first two shots against go in, fall behind 2-0 at Providence but come back and win in a shootout 4-3. The reverse of what happened here tonight in Wilkes-Barre happened up in Providence, the Bears won with just 18 shots on goal to Providence’s 38….Albany lost to Springfield 5-4. Ex-Penguin Matia Marcantuoni scored the game winning goal for the Falcons in the win. Marcantuoni was dealt in the trade which got the Pens Plachta. So both trade pieces score first goals for their respective teams. Nice….Lehigh Valley blanked St. John’s 4-0, the Phantoms were officially eliminated from playoffs tonight…Portland beats Hartford 4-1 which drops the Penguins magic number to 2.

Standings: Hershey (.645) — Penguins (.630) — Bridgeport (.601) — Providence (.601) — Portland (.587) — Hartford (.550) — Lehigh Valley (.493) — Springfield (.406)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers won a big one tonight over the Manchester Monarchs by a score of 2-1.

I’ll post any visual candy from Coal Street if they publish it in a morning edit.

Portland in tomorrow at 4. Gameday setup Sunday at noon.

Oh, if you are wondering where the pun headline came from, it’s a play on the term, “Pearls Before Swine” which has a biblical meaning and is also my favorite comic strip. I consider Stephan Pastis (also a big fan of puns himself) one of the greatest thinkers of our time.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Manchester 3/7

manch white

Away Game: 29

AHL Game: 865

Who: Manchester Monarchs

Where: Verizon Wireless Arena

When: 3:00 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game / Last Meeting: Last night, the Penguins lost 6-3. The Penguins scored two power play goals, but Jordan Weal had four points. (2-2-4)

Record: For WBS: 32-19-2-4 (70 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For MCH: 35-14-5-2 (77 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: Manchester is an elite team that makes you pay for your mistakes. That was on full display last night in New Hampshire. Minimizing those miscues is going to be key for the Penguins if they want to have a chance to win this afternoon.

Referee(s): Tom Chmielewski / Jon McIsaac

Linesmen: Joe Andrews / Alex Stagnone

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @MonarchsHockey

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /MonarchsHockey

Instagram: wbspenguins / monarchshockey

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / MCH: Ken Cail @kenmonarchs

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep 

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For MCH: WGIR 610 AM

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: May as well pay some attention to Hershey @ Hartford starting a half an hour later than the Penguins game this afternoon. Both teams are coming off of bad losses last night and are going to look to regroup against one another today.

Next Five Games: @ SPR 3/8, HER 3/11, HER 3/14, HFD 3/15, @ SYR 3/20