Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

Low Points – Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)


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I guess it’s better than nothing.

A 3-2 Lehigh Valley overtime loss Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, where the Penguins had the lead coming into the third period, lost it and Lehigh Valley forces overtime. It didn’t take long as Adam Brooks ended it just :37 into the overtime frame.

7 points off of 6th and the final spot in the Atlantic for playoffs and 4 points off of 7th, held by Sunday’s opponent Hartford, who were shutout 4-0 in Springfield in the only game that matters for the Penguins. Bridgeport was off.

Here’s how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Tommy Nappier and Chris Ortiz were recalled earlier in the day. Nappier will be heading back as Dustin Tokarski was re-assigned by Pittsburgh this evening. Lukas Svejkovsky out, Nathan Legare back in.

First Period: Two big stops on two different shooters by Taylor Gauthier and then seconds later Drake Caggiula was in all alone on a breakaway and scored giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

But then Lehigh Valley answers right back with a goal from Garrett Wilson. Wilson was looking for someone in front and instead his pass goes off of a Penguin defender instead and in.

Bad team. Bad luck. Bad break. St. Ivany, I think in case you are wondering.

Second Period: Josh Maniscalco scores a power play goal in a similar way that Garrett Wilson scored in the first, off a defender.

I suppose they all count the same.

Third Period: One second left on a power play for the Phantoms and they score via Artem Anisimov goal to tie the game at two.

That goal breaks a streak of 25 straight penalty kills by Wilkes-Barre.

Ty Glover and Filip Hållander led a two on one and Hållander wasn’t able to finish.

I think at the end of the period Lehigh Valley wanted to preserve at least a point. The Penguins in flashes showed some push but were in the same boat.

Overtime: Face-off win by Artem Anisimov and then…

Three Stars: 3) Artem Anisimov (goal, assist) 2) Drake Caggiula (goal) 1) Adam Brooks (goal, assist)

The Good: There’s no consistency with this team. Explain how they can run into Allentown on the third game of a three in three and eat a rested Phantoms team alive like they did last Sunday then blow a third period lead (typical) then in overtime? I guess you can say there’s consistency in that they always bow the lead and find a way to lose.

The Bad: They let an extremely average and likely one and done in playoffs Phantoms team back in the game in the third period and let them take the extra point they were so desperately chasing.

Turning Point: Going to give it to Anisimov’s goal that tied the game back in the third. It was a feckless effort by the home team after that.

Bridgeport is off the rest of the weekend and have 68 points with 9 games left. Hartford, out of a playoff spot, have 65 points with 9 games left. The Penguins have 10 games left, a head to head with Hartford Sunday and 61 points.

I’ll post video highlights if I see them and can get back around in front of a computer.

More Sunday night after Hartford.

Let’s Go Pens!

Weekend Preview: So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?

So after taking 5 of 6 points this past weekend in an impressive showing of work and being still in touch with a playoff spot, well, let’s just get to the music to set the mood part…

Music to Set the Mood…

It ain’t over till it’s over.

A Quote…

It ain’t over till it’s over.
— Yogi Berra

So you can sense a theme here. It seems like it’s in the fan contract with this team that no matter what, you have to have hope. It’s always hope.

I still think we are on track for an early spring, but after a 0-3 comeback against a game Rochester Americans team that won eight straight against the Penguins, and then being the better team in Syracuse and then crushing a rested Phantoms team Sunday in the third game in three days, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are showing life and aren’t dead yet.


Filip Hallander, on a whim, flew to and back from Dallas, Texas on Thursday. He and Dustin Tokarski were recalled Thursday but when it was revealed that Hallander’s services weren’t needed, Hallander was sent right back.

Coal Street signed Jagger Joshua to an AHL contract earlier this week. He will join the team on an Amateur Tryout Contract.

The Setup

Lehigh Valley again Saturday on Star Wars Night, which will likely be a sellout or close to it, then a 5:05 Hartford Sunday home game. Very important games.

Both the Penguins and Phantoms will be rested, as neither will play games until Saturday.

Hartford, a team that the Penguins are chasing, host Springfield Friday and Saturday and will be playing a third game in three days.

On an Island

That other team, Bridgeport, holds the sixth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic, and played Laval Wednesday and won 5-3 and are in Belleville Friday before calling it a weekend.

Laval is in a dogfight with Belleville, who is playing some inspired hockey as of late. So this is a prime time for the Penguins to get some help from out of town, handle what’s in front of them, and see where things shake out at the close of business Sunday evening.


Hartford is 2-5-0-2 against Springfield this season and 2-0-1-1 against the Penguins.

Pens are 5-3-1-1 against the Phantoms and 2-2 against the Wolf Pack.

Small sample size, but Bridgeport is 1-0 against Belleville this season.

Here’s what it looks like at the bottom of the Atlantic…

6. Bridgeport – 10 games remaining – 66 points.
7. Hartford – 11 games remaining – 63 points.
8. PENGUINS – 11 games remaining – 60 points.

I mean if it gets tight and the Pens miss over the Wolf Pack by a point or two, they can probably point back to those games where they won in OT or a shootout, where they give Hartford a point and don’t beat them clean. I don’t think it will cut that close but it’s worth mentioning.

So what are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?

I think they realized that Alex Nylander isn’t walking through that door any time soon, so the role players stepped up in a big way. Justin Addamo scored a goal in every game last weekend. Drake Caggiula was their best player. I think not having Mitch Reinke in the lineup was a blessing in disguise for them. Here’s what I mean…

The first two Rochester goals last Friday. That’s Mitch Reinke coasting on the first goal and getting caught flat footed on the second. Yeah, the Pens weren’t able to cash against Lehigh Valley’s 32nd out of 32 teams penalty kill on Sunday, but it’s a trade off. His defensive adventurism costs the team goals against which you can’t get back as opposed to goals for, which you can score at any time, for the most part.

Also, Taylor Fedun going up to Pittsburgh is also a blessing.

The only thing I would say they are doing wrong is going 1/9 on the power play this past weekend, but it’s a trade off to winning games and losing what I think is causing them to lose those games in Reinke’s injury and Fedun’s callup, despite Reinke’s effectiveness on the power play.

Keep Tyler Sikura, Filip Hallander and Jonathan Gruden going. Peter DiLiberatore is a diamond in the rough, defensively. Josh Maniscalco is rough around the edges, but you hope (there’s that word again) they can coach the bad parts of the game out of him. I think they have enough to get by with Jon Lizotte, Jack St. Ivany and Andrew Nielsen so we will see.

I think the quality of opponents they beat last week (Rochester, Syracuse) are better than the quality of opponents they face this week (they already beat Lehigh Valley Sunday, they play them against Saturday, Hartford isn’t that good) but sadly, none of those teams mentioned in this sentence are winning the Calder Cup. Which leads me to my next point…

Looking ahead…

Providence is a team which I think will go far this postseason.  They lead the division over Hershey by three points coming into Friday. That thing I said about hope at the beginning? What are we hoping for? Hope for playoffs? Hope for a Calder Cup? It’s both, because you can’t have one without the other, but the Penguins aren’t winning the Calder Cup this season. The Bruins, however, are probably one of three teams (Calgary and Toronto being the others) with strong odds to win it all.

The Pens play Providence at home next Wednesday, then against the Phantoms again as they close out March. Home against Syracuse on Saturday to open April.

Who is running the show?

Stephen Hiff and Peter Schlittenhardt are here Saturday and Sunday with Jud Ritter and J.P. Waleski on the lines Saturday, then replaced by Patrick Dapuzzo and Ryan Knapp on the lines Sunday.

Give us a bold prediction…

Mitch Reinke returns, orchestrates the Penguins scoring on 75% of their power plays, plays a direct role in all of this, and wins AHL Player of the Week with 4 goals, 3 assists, all coming on the power play.

Five of Six, Done Five to Two — Pens WIN 5-2


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Probably the finest weekend of Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hockey played in a while.

Five out of a possible six points and now four points out of the sixth and final playoff spot with 11 games left. This weekend could have been make or break for the Penguins and with the trend of play of late it was leaning towards break, but they find a way to get 5 of 6 possible points this weekend with a methodical 5-2 takedown of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday.

Justin Addamo scored again, his third goal in three games this weekend. Drake Caggiula had a pair of goals and an assist. Tyler Sikura, Jonathan Gruden, Filip Hållander all scored. Get scoring from these guys, 36 saves from Dustin Tokarski and yeah, you are going to win a whole heck of a lot more games than you are going to lose in this league.

Here’s how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Josh Maniscalco for Taylor Fedun and Jamie Devane for Nathan Legare. Fedun was held out for precautionary reasons in case of a recall needed by Pittsburgh.

First Period: Figure that the Penguins, who are in their third game in their third day, would need a good start against a Phantoms team who didn’t play Saturday.

Drake Caggiula made sure that they got that good start.

A minute in and the Penguins had a goal. I’d say that’s a hell of a start.

They went 0/1 on the power play, Dustin Tokarski made a save that broke his blocker, Jonathan Gruden had a breakaway but then Kyle Olson took a later penalty giving the Phantoms a carryover power play into the…

Second Period: Drake Caggiula strikes again early, this time 1:04 in and shorthanded to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

Penguins took four straight penalties in the run of play here in the period. Phantoms thought they scored in one of the sequences but Adam Brooks makes incidental contact with Tokarski and referee Jack Young washes out the goal. Goaltender interference giveth and goaltender interference taketh away.

No one knows what it is, so let’s not pretend to start now. Make it reviewable.

Jackson Cates with a goal which was intended to be a pass, and the Penguins lead is halved.

Not to worry, Jonathan Gruden reestablishes the two goal lead.

Huge response, indeed.

Third Period: Justin Addamo scores his third goal in as many games to lift the Penguins to a three goal lead.

Loose puck out at the neutral zone that Bobby Brink pounces on and scores on to again cut the Penguins lead in half. But then Ian Laperriere pulls Samuel Ersson with about four minutes left to play, putting a lot of pressure on his forwards and inevitably Filip Hållander beats out an icing race and scores to put it away.

Three Stars: 3) Jackson Cates (goal) 2) Dustin Tokarski (36 saves) 1) Drake Caggiula (two goals, assist)

The Good: Boy, I bet they wish they had a game Wednesday because they seem to be onto something here. Coming back from multiple goals down against Rochester at home Friday to win, an overtime loss Saturday in Syracuse where I maintain they were the better team and then Sunday in Allentown, where they got in late against a rested team that didn’t play the night before and win decisively is a character weekend. I don’t know if they read the blog (doubtful, if so please stop and focus on winning) but they got kicked in the pants last weekend by me and a lot of others and responded this weekend about as good as anyone could ask. Take the next couple days off, get a couple good practices in this week and come out firing against this Lehigh Valley team Saturday against what will likely be a sellout crowd and continue to push. Be that team no one wants to play in the playoffs.

The Bad: They couldn’t cash against the last place penalty kill in the entire AHL.

Turning Point: The Gruden goal late in the second. It reestablishes the two goal lead and halts all momentum Lehigh Valley was building.

Around the Division: Hartford and Bridgeport were off. Providence beats Springfield in a shootout 3-2.

Standings: Providence 84 – Hershey 81 – Charlotte 76 – Springfield 71 – Lehigh Valley 68 – Bridgeport 64 – || – Hartford 63 – Penguins 60

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: I’ll likely edit these in before I start work in the morning.

Who plays who this week: Bridgeport is in Laval Wednesday. Hartford hosts Springfield Friday while Bridgeport is in Belleville. My Weekend Preview will likely be out Friday morning so those games will be covered along with who else the Islanders and Wolf Pack play next weekend.

Let’s Go Pens!

More Grits, No Glory — Pens LOSE 4-3 (OT)


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They have certainly been better.

3 out of a possible 4 points out of tough North Division clubs they have not have any success against of recent, with Saturday’s result a 4-3 Penguins overtime loss to the Syracuse Crunch. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton sees a 2-1 lead flip to a 3-2 deficit in the span of 35 seconds in the third period. They could have packed it in, chased the game and lost 4-2 or 5-2, but Filip Hållander, returning from injury, scores to tie the game at 3 then nearly wins the game in overtime while the Penguins were killing a penalty.

Hållander was the best player on the ice for the visitors Saturday, bar none. Good to see him back out there.

Out of town, Hartford beat Bridgeport clean, so the deficit with the loser point for the Penguins is 6 now to the sixth and final spot in the Atlantic Division for the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Here’s how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Mitch Reinke, Jos Maniscalco and Raivis Ansons all out, Filip Hållander, Andrew Nielsen and Jack St,. Ivany all in. I didn’t hear Nick Hart pregame, but the Reinke, Maniscalco scratches were warranted in my opinion and Ansons as well.

Mark Friedman was recalled by Pittsburgh Saturday morning.

First Period: Justin Addamo continued his holy streak, getting a goal when a puck wasn’t completely controlled by Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt off a Taylor Fedun shot and the Pens were on the board first.

Syracuse gets a weird goal when a Trevor Carrick shot goes off Lucas Edmonds and in for a 1-1 game a minute or so past halfway.

Penguins controlled the Crunch on the power play, killing both of their chances in the period.

Second Period: Scrappy period, moreso then usual. two fights, a 4:00 roughing, just an overall scrappy period. I don’t think there have been two fights in the last 10 games, let alone two fights in one game. It’s been a while and good to see actually.

Penguins get a goal when Filip Hållander forces a turnover and finds Tyler Sikura streaking down the ice and finds him for a goal that gives the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

Third Period: Life comes at you quick.

Penguins go from up 2-1 to down 3-2 in the span of :35. Ex-Penguin Felix Robert scores to tie the game, then Trevor Carrick follows suit to give the Crunch a 3-2 lead.

Gauthier gets some of, but not all of, that shot.

Could have packed it in. Could have come undone. But no.

Filip Hållander to the rescue.

Hållander was everywhere Saturday. After his goal he had a late breakaway which was denied by Alnefelt.

Overtime: I didn’t like some of the calls referees Jim Curtain and Ian McCambridge doled out Saturday, but that’s hockey. I particularly didn’t care for the call in overtime where Alex Barre-Boulet folds like a house of cards on a soft check by Jonathan Gruden. The Penguins navigate out of it with the aforementioned Hållander nearly scoring shorthanded to end it for the Penguins, but it’s Declan Carlile finding a loose puck in a pile that was not covered and putting it in to give Syracuse a much needed win in their fight for a spot in the North Division Playoffs.

Three Stars: 3) Filip Hållander (goal, assist) 2) Declan Carlile (OT goal) 1) Trevor Carrick (goal, assist)

The Good: Certainly better than last week, week before. Rochester and Syracuse are playoff teams. Pens played them tough. Now, empty the tank against a rested Lehigh Valley team Sunday in Allentown and keep pushing.

The Bad: I don’t think the better team won the game.

Turning Point: Usually OT goals get them here and in this case, I’m not overthinking things and just going with the Carlile winner here.

Around the Division: Bridgeport, as I m mentioned off the hop, loses to Hartford clean 3-2…Charlotte beats Toronto 4-1….Hershey beats Rochester 2-1….Providence beats Springfield 4-1.

Standings: Providence 82 – Hershey 81 – Charlotte 76 – Springfield 70 – Lehigh Valley 68 – Bridgeport 64 – || – Hartford 63 – Penguins 58

Wheeling Update: Nailers can’t complete a sweep down in Norfolk, lose 4-2.

Video Highlights: 

I still don’t think the team that won was the best team on the ice. I suppose that’s promising, but we will see what Sunday brings. Talk to you then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Like a Glover — Pens WIN 5-4


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They are going to drag this out to the bitter end.

Or maybe it’s just the luck of the Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day.

After going down 3-0 in the first period, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins pull themselves up from their bootstraps and comeback to win 5-4 in a shootout over visiting Rochester.

Full credit to them. They could have packed it in and said the hell with it. But a Jonathan Gruden goal off a deflection of a Mitch Reinke shot got them on the board late in the first period. After playing better in the second period they use the power play to get to within one on a Drake Caggiula slam dunk then ride a :19 span where Peter DiLiberatore and Justin Addamo score to tie and then take the lead, respectively.

But then Jeremy Davies scores a couple minutes later to re-tie the game to force overtime, which solves nothing. In the shootout, Ty Glover scores in the top of the second and starting goaltender Dustin Tokarski turns away all three Rochester shooters to win the game for the Penguins.

Character win if there ever was one. Bridgeport beat Saturday’s opponent Syracuse to maintain their seven point lead over the Penguins for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic, however, but a loss tonight would essentially end all hopes of playoffs. Seven is a lot of ground to make up, but is still (hypothetically) doable.

Let’s run through the lineup, the goals then get out of here.

Rochester didn’t post lines. I don’t know what’s up with Mark Friedman. Pittsburgh is carrying like 100 defensemen, so if it’s a recall we won’t find out till Saturday.

Pens came out flying in the first but it’s Jiri Kulich who sneaks behind the defense and scores on Rochester’s fourth shot of the game.

Mitch Reinke coasting there.

Then Mason Jobst scores one he receives a cross ice pass to make it 2-0.

That’s Reinke again and his defense partner Josh Maniscalco pretending it’s Halloween and dressing up like traffic cones as the competition just races past them.

I don’t know what Taylor Fedun is doing here. He leaves his spot to help out, which opens up space in transition which sets up Malone for the goal.

Pens on the board.

Mitch Reinke had a mercurial game, that’s for sure.

Second period. Here, I’ll let my tweets set it up.

:13 later, Drake Caggiula, with stick in hand, scores.

Now, late in the third period with Wilkes-Barre still pressuring Peter DiLiberatore, who actually has been a bit of a bright spot for the Penguins since the trade, scores to tie the game at three each.

:19 later, Justin Addamo.

I mean you can’t give a guy that big a path to the net that easy.

But then Jeremy Davies scores to re-tie the game because we just can’t win the game in regulation.

Nothing doing in overtime so it’s off to the shootout.

Just noticed something…

They didn’t skate on green ice tonight but from the color from this picture it would look like they did.

Justin Addamo (goal), Drake Caggiula (goal, assist) and Ty Glover (game winning shootout goal) were your three stars in that order.

Bridgeport beats Syracuse 5-2 in really the only game that matters for the Penguins at this point in the season. Wilkes-Barre is in Syracuse Saturday night. More then. Highlights will be edited in later if I get back around to a computer any time soon.

Let’s Go Pens!

Weekend Preview: Three, and Out?

So if the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have any shot at making the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, they have to get a result out of each of the next three games played on consecutive days.

They may not have it in them. Face it, they have been outgunned and outclassed almost on a nightly basis. They have scored just one goal each in the last three games. Alex Nylander, which makes up a lot of their offense, is in the NHL.

But this is the AHL. Teams go on runs, stuff happens. Teams ahead of you in the standings stall and the teams behind those teams start running down hill and can’t stop.

Thing is, with 14 games left and 28 total points at stake, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot of time here.

Music to set the mood…

Yep, Mission Impossible. Not much of a movie buff, did the guy make it through the mission OK? Did he get what he wanted? Legitimately asking here.

A Quote…

Say goodnight, Gracie.
— George Burns

Personally, I think it’s a fools enterprise, what we are doing here, be we shall continue.

The Setup

A rare three in three, just the second this season for the Penguins. Prime to set the stage and get off on the right foot against tonight’s opponent Rochester, keep the ball rolling in Syracuse Saturday then empty the tank Sunday in Allentown.

Rochester is in a fight for the final spot in the North Division with Laval, Belleville and Cleveland. That is a lot of teams. They are trying to keep pace with Syracuse and Utica for the two seed. They won’t be an easy opponent. They played the Rocket on Wednesday and shut them out 2-0.

Syracuse had a measuring stick game with Providence Wednesday and lost 4-2. They will be in Bridgeport Friday. That offense is potent. Every time Trevor Carrick and Alex Barre-Boulet play the Penguins it seems like they run wild. Gotta mark those guys.

Lehigh Valley is a blood rival, are probably out of reach for the Penguins to catch with this little time and will have played Hershey Friday after hosting them and losing to them on Wednesday. The Phantoms will have Saturday off.

Wolves on an Island

The Islanders and Wolf Pack met in Hartford on Wednesday and Hartford won a 12 goal affair 7-5.

Hartford has Springfield at home on Friday, go to Bridgeport on Saturday and are off Sunday.

Bridgeport has Syracuse as I mentioned above on Friday and host the Wolf Pack.

There are two more head to heads with which involve the Islanders and Wolf Pack, one later this month and another in April.


Only taking a look at the bottom three, the only ones that matter right now on Coal Street.

6. Bridgeport: 13 games left – 62 points.
7. Hartford: 13 games left – 61 points.
8. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton – 14 games left, 55 points

Records against Whomst…

PENGUINS: 0-1 against Rochester, 0-2 against Syracuse, 4-3-1-1 against Lehigh Valley.
Hartford: 2-4-0-2 against Springfield, 4-5 against Bridgeport.
Bridgeport: 0-1 against Syracuse, 5-4 against Hartford.

Penguins score more than one goal and find a way to win the game challenge…

Wilkes-Barre has struggled against North Division teams, just 4-8-2 against the teams which reside there, and three of those wins have come against Cleveland. Syracuse gives the Penguins fits and Rochester treats the Penguins the way the Penguins treat Cleveland, easy two points. The Americans have won eight straight against the Penguins.

One goal simply isn’t going to cut it against the quality of opponents the Penguins are facing this weekend.

How do you overcome it? You get scoring from where it should come from (Valtteri Puustinen, if healthy Filip Hallander) and get secondary guys like Tyler Sikura, Drake Caggiula and Sam Houde to chip in. Find a way to get Andrew Nielsen and Peter DiLibertore in the lineup defensively. Get Ty Glover back in the lineup up front and scratch Jamie Devane.

Easier said than done, and likely impossible as recent history has shown.

Don’t be so hard on them, they are trying their best!

Listen, it’s a team full of role players put there by a hamstrung front office who has no prospects and an aging veteran core in Pittsburgh who are likely one and done in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, if they even make it. The problems you see up top with Pittsburgh are the same problems they have in Wilkes-Barre, save for the three hall of famers in 87, 71 and 58.

Goaltending is a mess and downright shoddy at times.
– Nothing in the hole in Wilkes-Barre. Filip Lindberg is made of glass and Taylor Gauthier is probably two years away, if not more. Dustin Tokarski has too many miles on him and his glory days are behind him.

Forwards are old and too much of a liability.
– The only prospect they have is Alex Nylander, who is already up with them, likely for good, and that leaves a massive hole in Wilkes-Barre. All the other call-ups (Hallander, Caggiula, etc.) were merit recalls. Nice work in Wilkes-Barre, here’s an NHL cup of coffee, don’t take your coat off cause you aren’t staying long. The rest in Valtteri Puustinen (doesn’t play defense), Nathan Legare (they fell out of favor with him), Corey Andonovski (needs about 25 more pounds) and Lukas Svejkovsky, Jonathan Gruden, etc. aren’t anything more than flash in the pan one and done NHL dime a dozen callups. These aren’t prospects, these are role players. Sam Poulin, coming back from a three month leave, isn’t saving this franchise.

Defense is old and too much of a liability.
– They have nothing in the way of defensive prospects. P-O Joseph is that prospect. Ty Smith showed flashes, but I think this is the wrong system for him. They have nothing else. Jon Lizotte, Taylor Fedun and Mitch Reinke are not NHL defensemen. They may be great guys, great teammates, whatever, but they aren’t NHL defensemen.

We fooled ourselves thinking this team was going to go somewhere after making it to a four seed and winning a playoff round last year, but the bottom fell out. They are cap strapped and have nothing in the way of prospects. It’s going to be some long, lean years in Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh.

Who is running the show?

Mike Sullivan and Ian McCambridge Friday with John Rey and Michael Magee on the lines.

Ian McCambridge again with Jim Curtin Saturday in Syracuse with Jason Brown and Sam Cucinotta on the lines.

Cody Beach and Jack Young Sunday in Allentown with Joseph Mahon and Ryan Knapp on the lines.

Looking ahead…

A Friday off, then Saturday and Sunday home games next week against the Phantoms and Wolf Pack, respectively. That Sunday home game against Hartford starts at 5. Yikes.

Give us a bold prediction…

We will all be back in October with the same anticipation that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year.

Sewerballs — Pens LOSE 4-1


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I’m not going to give this a lot of time nor a lot of effort tonight because the team I paid money which I earned to watch play hockey didn’t return the favor.

The team’s Instagram constantly posts the players playing sewer ball before every game. It’s a game played with a soccer ball and the players all gather around a circle and pop the ball off their bodies and if the ball hits the ground the last guy to touch it is out, is what I gather.

They are more competitive in those silly sewerball games than they are on the ice. That’s sad.

Another loss, this time 4-1 to the Utica Comets on Saturday. It was a 1-1 game entering the third period, but then Brian Halonen scored with about six minutes to play and then the bottom fell out.

It’s like when they are in tight games, they don’t play to win, they play not to lose.

Then Sam Houde gives the puck away to Graeme Clarke who buries it to put the game out of reach and send about half of the the 6876 in attendance Saturday to the exits. The goal will live in the history books as unassisted, but Sam Houde gifted that goal to the visiting team.

Captain Taylor Fedun did something positive for a change, scoring the only goal for the Penguins in the first period minutes after Utica opened the scoring on a Simon Nemec shot.

Feckless effort. Embarrassing loss. They should all be ashamed.

Body language being what it is, I watched them all leave the ice (while I was loudly booing and telling them how questionable or inadequate I felt they were) and it looked like they were all spent. Not spent like playing 60 minutes of a hockey game spent, but spent like no matter what they try, no matter what they do, it doesn’t work.

The head coach sounded the same way.

In his postgame media availability, Patrick Williams of lobbed questions at the Penguins head coach and he sounded totally dejected. Without giving away the line of work I do professionally, I listen to a lot of people talk. I can normally hear, in the inflection of their voice, whether they are mad, sad, happy, lying, telling the truth, clueless, etc. J.D. Forrest sounded totally dejected, totally lost for a good answer and completely defeated. Like someone just shot his dog right in front of him.

I don’t think the out of town scoreboard matters anymore, because Bridgeport wins in a shootout over Charlotte and Hartford loses in overtime to Toronto. It’s seven points back to Bridgeport at the six and final playoff seed, may as well be eight because the Islanders own the tie breaker over the Penguins, as do the Wolf Pack.

Maybe they turn it around. Teams go on runs fairly quickly in this league, but a rejected headline for tonight was “One and Done.” Can’t win many games scoring just one goal, like the Penguins have done now in their each of their last three games.

Say Goodnight, Gracie, it won’t be long now.