Author Archives: Brian Coe

Penguins Podcast w/ Kevin Czuczman

Penguins Podcast

This week’s episode of the Penguins Podcast sees defenseman Kevin Czuczman swing on by to sit down with Mike O’Brien and Nick Hart. They talk about being a late bloomer as a hockey player, Eastern Conference versus Western Conference and who has the best/worst style on the team.


Penguins Podcast w/ Zach-Aston Reese

Penguins Podcast

Mike O’Brien and Nick Hart are back on the WBS Penguins Podcast with their first episode of the 2017-18 season. Zach Aston-Reese sits down with the duo to discuss how he passes the time on football Sundays, assists the guys with their new 3-on-3 segment and who he’s going to form a band with on the Penguins.



Pick after pick went by at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago back in June, 86, 87, 89… it kept going. 154, 155, 156… and so on and so on until 215, 216, 217. The draft was over.

Jordy Bellerive never heard his name.

After an impressive year with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, not one of the 31 NHL clubs felt that Bellerive could help their team advance in the future. Even though he was at first understandably rocked by going undrafted, he’s looking on the brighter side.

“It’s something you look forward to your whole life,” Bellerive said. “You try and battle throughout the whole year trying to get that opportunity for a team to take you, then to not get drafted, obviously that was disappointing. But some things happens for a reason. I really think it turned out well for me. It really motivated me for the summer. I put a lot of hard work in, which I think is paying off. So I’m okay with it now.”

With the chip still freshly engraved on his shoulder, Bellerive is using it to leave a big time impression as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2017 Prospects Showcase. The 18-year-old forward now leads the tournament with four goals on the heels of tallying a hat trick in the Penguins first win of the weekend, a 6-2 triumph over the New Jersey Devils.

Just over one minutes into the contest, Bellerive notched slid a rebound across the goal line. As the Devils caught fire early in the third period and started forging a comeback, Bellerive poured cold water on them with yet another tally, and later added a third score to complete the hat trick.

Bellerive gave partial credit to his offensive outburst to the confidence he gained by scrounging up a goal in the Pittsburgh prospects’ first game on Friday.

“To get that first one out of the way quick, it showed, hey, I can play. I belong here. I got some confidence and tried to do it again today. It worked out for me again, I guess.”

Bellerive isn’t the only one believing in himself at this point either. His performance has coach Clark Donatelli singing his praises, as well.

“I don’t know his whole body of work and what he’s done before this, but so far so good,” Donatelli said. “If you’re going off this, then yes he definitely should have been drafted.”

bellerive tweet

What’s particularly impressed Donatelli and other Penguins brass has been Bellerive’s ability to contribute in this fashion offensively despite limited ice time. Most of the minutes through two games have been dedicated to Penguins prospects already under contract, like Zach Aston-Reese, Daniel Sprong, Teddy Blueger, Thomas Di Pauli, etc. But every time Bellerive has stepped onto the ice, one can’t help but notice.

“Coming in being a fourth line guy, I expected to not get the most ice time. So I told myself whatever ice time I got, that was an opportunity to do something special.”

He’s been exactly that so far. Special. Now there’s more than enough reason for him to hope this weekend is just the start to a lengthy pro career.

“Hockey’s a long run. I’m not too worried about [going undrafted] anymore.”



In addition to Bellerive’s hat trick, the Penguins got their fair share of puck luck in their victory over the Devils prospects, too. First period goals by Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli both redirecting off of Devils defensemen and in.

Much like Friday, Sprong continued to be snakebitten despite a bevy of scoring chances. When the puck finally fell right for him, it was on a one-timer that left his stick with such velocity, it went rocketing right through the equipment of Devils goalie Ken Appleby and across the goal line. It was quite a shot, but the kind of delivery we’ve come to expect from Sprong.

The Devils’ two goals that beat Penguins goalie Alex D’Orio both went bar-down. Otherwise, it was an impressive showing from the 18-year-old tender when New Jersey had its chances.

Zach Aston-Reese dropped the gloves and fought Devils D-man Steve Santini late in the third period. Aston-Reese got into a scuffle by the Devs’ bench and Santini stepped in with less than diplomatic intentions to solve the conflict. Both players got good punches in, but Aston-Reese ended up with the takedown.

The Penguins have a practice scheduled for Sunday afternoon, then they face the host Buffalo Sabres in the final game of the tourney at 7:35 p.m. on Monday.


The Pittsburgh Penguins announced their roster for the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday afternoon.

Unsurprisingly, the roster is headlined by the likes of Zach Aston-Reese and Daniel Sprong as well as 2017 draft picks Jan Drozg, Zach Lauzon and Antti Palojärvi. However, as is the case with most of these prospect showcases, there are plenty of names that Penguins fans might not recognize at first glace. They aren’t drafted. They aren’t signed. But they’re more than just along for the ride.

One should keep in mind that once-unsigned, undrafted players like Jean-Sébastien Dea and Reid Gardiner made huge impressions at the rookie tournament once upon a time. They turned those strong showings into training camp invites and eventually contracts.

The following are just a few of the players fans might not be all too familiar with that could end up making waves in Buffalo this upcoming weekend. Continue reading


2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assistant coach J.D. Forrest is one of the coaches (along with Pens bench boss Clark Donatelli) leading the United States Under 18 Select Team at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, taking place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia.  

The tournament features the top players under the age of 18 from the major hockey playing countries.  The teams are split into two groups (Group A – Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, USA; Group B – Canada, Finland, Russia, Slovakia), with each team playing once against the other countries within its group.

The top two teams in each group will advance to play in semifinal and medal rounds, while the lower ranked teams will face off to determine places five through eight.

J.D. will be keeping us up to date throughout the two weeks he’s overseas with blog posts and photos (check them out below).  Fans can stream the United States’ games online at as well. 

The full U.S. team schedule for the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup:

 Thursday, August 3  Hungary U-20  2:00 pm  Exhibition Game  Budapest, Hungary
 Saturday, August 5  Slovakia U-18  11:30 am  Exhibition Game  Bratislava, Slovakia
 Monday, August 7  Sweden  9:30 am  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Tuesday, August 8  Switzerland  9:30 am  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Wednesday, August 9  Czech Republic  1:00 pm  Preliminary Round  Breclav, Czech Republic
 Friday, August 11  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD
 Saturday, August 12  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD

July 30 (Day 1) – Great to be Back with USA Hockey
First off, it’s such an honor to be working with USA Hockey and the staff that they’ve put together. Starting with Clark being a former Olympic team captain our whole staff has experience with USA Hockey in some capacity. That experience is going to help guide our team through a very tough Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
We’re beginning our travel in Newark and heading to Budapest, Hungary for a pre tournament training camp. We have 22 players from all over the country ready to represent the Red white and blue.  I’ll check in later on from Budapest!

August 1 (Day 3) 

After a long flight and a bit of a bus ride we’ ve arrived in Budapest. We are staying on the Buda side of the Danube River overlooking the Pest side in a really neat old hotel. One thing I wasn’t prepared for is the 100 degree heat with  no AC, but I’ll be spending most of my time in a rink so I think I’ll survive.
Our first practice went well and we have a really good group of kids on our team. Everyone had good energy and jet lag wasn’t a factor today.  Tomorrow we have a longer practice to work on our systems and special teams, followed by a game Thursday evening vs the Hungarian U20 team. We are excited to see how quickly the kids can adapt to the style of play we want.

August 3 (Day 5) 

Last night we played the u20 Hungarian national team which was a good game. We ended up winning 4-2 and we were real happy with how our guys competed against a much older team. Hungary isn’t exactly known for their hockey but in the past 10 years they have made big strides in growing the game. The player pool has gotten bigger and there are more and more clubs to play for around the country.


blog_DeSmithLike every summer before it and surely like summers to come, this offseason has been a busy one for the Penguins organization. There’s a lot that’s happened at the NHL and AHL levels, whether it’s been contract extensions, newcomers or departures.

Just in case you missed anything while you were taking a well-deserved vacation or just got caught up in the whirlwind of the 24-hour news cycle, we’ve compiled a list of all free agency moves made by Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Who’s coming? Who’s staying? Who’s leaving? Answers to all those questions in the sections below.

Continue reading