Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Wheeling

Hope You Pescatarians Kept The Receipt

On Monday, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins released Colin Stevens from his professional tryout agreement. Sean Maguire was recalled from the Wheeling Nailers.

Monday night, in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, goaltender Matt Murray was injured on this play:

Murray left the game and didn’t return. Tristan Jarry picked up the win when some guy named Crosby tipped in the game winner in overtime.

Pittsburgh recalled Casey DeSmith from Wilkes-Barre Tuesday morning.

In the lateral move, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins re-signed Colin Stevens to another professional tryout agreement Tuesday. Your goaltending tandem heading into this weekend is Sean Maguire and Colin Stevens.

Bob McKenzie had this to say on the status of Murray as of Tuesday afternoon. Read both tweets.

Mike Sullivan offered a very detailed update regarding Murray’s status to the Pittsburgh media Tuesday afternoon:

Once you wash the sarcasm drippings off of your hands from my last paragraph and the tweet above, know that the Penguins placed Murray on injured reserve.

Other news surrounding the walking wounded in Wilkes-Barre from Tyler…

Other tidbits include the return of Garrett Wilson from his personal matters and Tom Sestito appears good to go, returning to practice this week as well.

More as it comes, hopefully it quiets down. Pittsburgh next plays Friday in a home and home with Buffalo, and Wilkes-Barre plays three in three beginning this Friday against Milwaukee, who haven’t been seen around these parts since they took home the Calder Cup in the Finals in 2004.

So Long and Thanks For All of the Fish, Colin

With the Penguins upcoming three games in three days looming on the schedule for this weekend, a decision needed to be made as to what to do at the backup goaltending position. Casey DeSmith had started every game in the month of November (probably a Wilkes-Barre record of some sort) so the backup needed to see a game in one of the three games this upcoming weekend against either Milwaukee Friday at home, Rochester Saturday at home and Hershey on the road Sunday.

Well, it isn’t going to be Colin Stevens. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins released Stevens from his professional tryout agreement Monday afternoon and recalled Sean Maguire from the Wheeling Nailers.

It’s a bit of a raw deal for Stevens, who never saw a minute of game action for the Penguins in the entire month, but such is the business.

Apparently the plan all along since Pittsburgh lost Antti Niemi to waivers in Wilkes-Barre and Wheeling was to keep having Maguire eat starts in the ECHL while DeSmith handled the workload here in Wilkes-Barre. The Nailers went out and got themselves a quality ECHL goaltender a few weeks ago in Adam Morrison in a deal with Rapid City, so they should be OK at the goaltending position. Wilkes-Barre plays fourteen games in the month of December which includes two Sunday and three Wednesday games. DeSmith would have simply gotten worn out had he continued to eat starts.

For Maguire, I don’t want to call it a fish or cut bait situation for him, he’s been sparingly used by Wilkes-Barre as he has continued his development in the ECHL. He’s 8-3 with a .910 and a 3.28 GAA with Wheeling this year. Nailers are second in the North Division, tied with the Manchester Monarchs with 24 points so far. I think it’s fair enough to say that the next step in his development is to backup at the AHL level. I’ll be interested to see when he gets a start this weekend, and how he does.

Colin Stevens Signed to PTO 10/25

Coal Street announced Wednesday morning that they have signed goaltender Colin Stevens to a professional tryout contract. Stevens, as you may recall, was in training camp with Wilkes-Barre.

His numbers with the Wheeling Nailers are a small sample size; 2-0-1 record, .907 save percentage and a 3.27 goals against average.

The save percentage and goals against are bad, but that’s because Stevens actually won a 7-6 game that the Nailers played in Greenville on October 14. Hunter Fejes had four goals in the contest. Stevens won a 4-2 game against Cincinnati on October 21 and lost a 2-1 game in overtime the next day in Reading.

Regardless, he’s the best man for the job for right now.

The reason the Penguins didn’t recall Sean Maguire is because he is injured right now. From what I have been able to gather he was wearing a splint on his arm the last time he was seen.

Stevens comes highly recommended from those who have seen him play and those who cover the Nailers…


I do not see Stevens getting a game this weekend unless Friday’s game against the Hershey Bears is a physical one. Pens are in Bridgeport Saturday then off until next Friday, November 3 in Allentown then off Saturday and home Sunday November 5 against Hershey. Conceivably, Tristan Jarry starts all four games. But then again, if the Penguins want to see what they want to do with Stevens from a perspective of signing him to an AHL contract for good, he’s probably going to need to see a game. Maybe that comes this weekend. Who knows.

One other bit of non-goaltender related news before I go…

I believe Obie meant Colin Smith, not Colin Stevens in this tweet.

I don’t think I will have anything of note Thursday, so check back Friday for the Gameday setup against the Hershey Bears.

Spinozzi Signed, Maguire to Wheeling 10/4

News dujour out of Coal Street Wednesday was news that the Penguins signed Kevin Spinozzi to a professional tryout agreement and then later in the day sent Sean Maguire to the Wheeling Nailers.

Spinozzi certainly earned the extended tryout agreement. While I don’t see him as a regular contributor to the Penguins defensive corps in the immediate future, he may play a factor when the injuries start piling up and bodies are pulled from all over the place. Obviously, Clark Donatelli and his staff saw enough of Spinozzi to offer him the tryout agreement.

Sean Maguire was sent to the Wheeling Nailers. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when for Maguire with the tandem of Tristan Jarry / Casey DeSmith already set in goal for the Penguins. Maguire should see the majority of starts for the Nailers and be ready should his services be needed by the Penguins in the near future. 

Pittsburgh finalized its roster. Here it is:

That does not include Andrey Pedan, who we can only assume has been assigned to Wilkes-Barre.

AHL Previews are rolling along with the Pacific, Central and North done and the Atlantic rounding things out Thursday at noon.

Penguins Training Camp Roster / Schedule Revealed

Thursday afternoon, Coal Street announced their training camp roster and schedule for camp that opens Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Full roster here.

Here’s blurbs on all of them cause why not.

Forwards

Riley Bourbonnais: Penguins signed him to an AHL contract over the summer. RPI product. Had a cup of coffee with Wheeling last year.

Jarrett Burton: Re-signed by the Penguins this summer. Was a depth guy last year, expect a big camp from him should he hope to stick around full time in 2017-18.

Cam Brown: Natick, Mass native who played 9 games and scored 3-4-7 after 34 games with the Maine Black Bears in the NCAA. Looks like a setup guy, he had 35 assists for Maine last year.

Hunter Fejes: Signed to an ECHL contract with Wheeling this past summer. had 18-20-38 with the Rapid City Rush last year.

Reid Gardiner: Penguins fans remember him as the guy that they signed last season who was released back to Kelowna of the WHL. Wilkes-Barre re-signed him again this summer and there is no going back to juniors for Gardiner, who had gaudy numbers (18-19-37) with Kelowna in 28 gamess.

Ryan Haggerty: Doesn’t need much of an introduction. Played a third / fourth line role with the Penguins last year. Has a big shot which he didn’t really use much last year.

Troy Josephs: Entering his first year pro and is looking to live up to the 20-13-33 he put up at Clarkson University last season. I don’t feel like he will be in competition for a spot, but if you sit and think about it for a while he may be.

Tom Kostopoulos: Only question is whether or not this is his final year.

Daniel Leavens: Robert Morris product signed with Wheeling late last year and then re-signed with the Nailers over the summer. 8 points in 7 games for the Nailers last year.

Pat McGrath: Doesn’t need an introduction. My big interest in him is whether he puts up more points since hockey is killing fighting.

Tom Mele: Second oldest player in camp. Mele is 31 and played 40 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones last year. He’s won a Central League championship with Fort Wayne when the Komets were in the CHL and an Kelly Cup Championship with Alaska.

Shawn O’Donnell: Mele plays LW and they have O’Donnell listed as a RW. He played 47 games with Cincinnati last year also, I wonder if they were linemates?

Justin Parizek: He attended a development camp with the Vancouver Canucks. He served as captain of the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks last year. Researching him finds he is a two-way winger. He’s smart too, had a 3.79 GPA in college.

Gage Quinney: Wilkes-Barre signed him in August. 44 points in 45 games for Wheeling last year. Does he stick or go down to Wheeling?

Kenny Ryan: Went from San Diego in the AHL, to Cincinnati to Indy in the ECHL. I don’t think he is signed anywhere, so it may be a tryout of sorts for him for the Nailers or someone else. Shawn Rine corrected me on this to inform that Ryan is actually signed by the Nailers.

Nick Sorkin: Sorkin played three games with Wilkes-Barre last season. He captained the Nailers last year, where he played 57 games.

Cody Wydo: Another Wheeling reinforcement that the Penguins called on last season. He, like Sorkin, appeared in three games for Wilkes-Barre.

Defensemen

Danny Fick: Nailers re-signed Fick over the summer where he played 69 games for them. He also appeared in two games for the San Antonio Rampage.

Dan Milan: He was in camp last year. Nailers signed him for 2017-18. 73 PIMs for ECHL Fort Wayne last year.

Matt Petgrave: Played college in New Brunswick last year and then five games with Brampton.

Kevin Schulze: Another Wheeling signee in camp with Wilkes-Barre. 68 games last year for the Nailers, 60 points. Had one game with teh Penguins.

Craig Skudalski: Here is your local connection besides Pat McGrath. Skudalski is a Wyoming, PA native. He bounced around in the lower levels of the minor leagues with Roanoke of the Southern League and Danbury of the Federal League.

Kevin Spinozzi: Captained the Sarnia Sting of the OHL last year. 41 points in 58 games. Not signed anywhere, so he’s looking for a good first impression.

Jeff Taylor: Up to this point, every defenseman I listed feels like a warm body until the regulars filter down from Pittsburgh. Taylor isn’t one of them. He had 6 games with Wilkes-Barre last year and is heading into his first pro season. Those reinforcements will get here soon enough, Taylor wants to make a case that he belongs in that top six defensive pairing among them.

Dylan Zink: Same as Taylor. Will be interesting to watch the competition between the two at camp and in exhibition games.

Goaltenders

Sean Maguire: Most likely Wheeling’s number one goalie again this season with DeSmith – Jarry pegged as the opening night duo. Still though, he wants to make it a tougher decision than that.

Will King: Valencia, PA native played in Sweden’s third tier hockey league last year with OK numbers in 11 games (2.57 GAA, .915 SV%)

Colin Stevens: Wheeling’s other goalie, signed by the Nailers over the summer. 33 games split with Tulsa (24) and Manchester (9) of the ECHL last season.

Nick and Obie held a two man advantage discussing some of the players invited to camp.

So there you go. If you have something you’d like to add on any of these guys, please feel free in the comments below.

Clark’s Army — Tim Army Named Assistant Coach

Announced Thursday was the rounding out of the hockey operations that will oversee the on ice product of the 2017-18 campaign the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will embark on in about two months.

Tim Army was named assistant coach, Seamus McKelvey was named head athletic trainer and Mike Joyce was named the teams strength and conditioning coach.

I was desperately looking for a pun headline to tie these announcements in together. The Army pun is a layup, Mike Joyce was a drummer in The Smiths, and Seamus would have been the boy headed to the army in the pun related to the Smiths once I couldn’t find.

Meat is Murder was a rejected pun headline. What’s with me and puns anyway? That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.

Anyway, let’s get serious.

Joyce interned last year with the Penguins and impressed enough to land the job. He’s a Scranton native.

McKelvey had some time with the Penguins and last season worked as an assistant trainer with the Providence Bruins.

Army and head coach Clark Donatelli have a history together.

Obie went on to say that there will be audio of the call Army had with the local media available on the team website Friday so if you are looking for something to listen to give that a listen.

In case you are wondering, Army is the father of Derek, who did time in Wilkes-Barre a few seasons ago.

Out the door, a couple more things. Wheeling re-signed Garrett Meurs to a contract this week and ex-Penguin Clark Seymour is back from Austria where he spent last season, signing with the Florida Everblades.

Have a great weekend.

Depth Gage – Pens Sign Quinney 8/7

Some puns are layups. Consider this one an easy two points.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins continued to fill out the back end of their lineup Monday when they announced the signing of Gage Quinney to a one year AHL contract.

Quinney played in Wheeling last season and of the players who appeared in at least 15 games, he had the best points per game ratio with .978. That nugget from Pens play-by-play voice Mike O’Brien this morning.

Color man Nick Hart chimed in later that Quinney impressed a bit at Pens camp last Fall and had a stellar season in Wheeling.

Nice to see the Penguins signing guys who put time in at Wheeling to AHL contracts. That’s how you build a strong minor league system, you reward guys who have put the time in.

The Nailers had a signing of their own today, goaltender Colin Stevens. Press release here and neat tweet with an infographic and highlights below…

Note that the Stevens signing is an ECHL signing, meaning that any AHL team, including the Penguins, can sign him to their team should the need arise.

Oh, while not officially announced, the Penguins may have an assistant coach in line to be hired this week. This from the always on the pulse of things Twitter feed of the great Mark Divver…

Stay tuned.