Tag Archives: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

BELLERIVE MAKING WAVES AS PENGUINS NAB FIRST WIN OF 2017 PROSPECTS SHOWCASE

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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.”

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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.”

 

OTHER NOTES:

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.

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MEET THE PENGUINS: 2017 NHL Entry Draft Recap

2017 Draft logoThis is your one-stop shop during the 2017 NHL Entry Draft! Whether or not you’re following along with the television broadcast or just hitting the refresh button on mobile, Skating on the Susquehanna is exactly where Penguins fans want to be on draft night.

Unless some deals are struck, Pittsburgh won’t make its first selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft until the very last pick of the first round. So we’ll be updating this live blog with anything interesting happening in the first round leading up to the Penguins’ pick at 31. After that, we’ll only cover every one of Pittsburgh’s picks on Saturday.

Every player selection will be accompanied by a detailed scouting report, so you know exactly who’s just joined the organization and who could be suiting up for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton someday down the line.

This blog was updated LIVE throughout the draft festivities on Friday and Saturday, and has since been reorganized to show the Penguins’ picks in chronological order first. You can scroll all the way to the bottom to see old updates from our first round coverage:
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2017 NHL DRAFT PREVIEW: Potential Penguins Targets

Nolan or NicoAfter the historic expansion draft in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, the hockey world is back to its regularly scheduled program. Up next in the offseason is the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, for which the finest young stars will blow into the Windy City in hopes of being whisked away by an NHL club. Of course, many of the players selected on June 23 and 24 will dazzle fans in the AHL, as well.

At the top of the draft rankings are two centermen separated by the slimmest of margins, creating one of the most hotly contested “Who’s No. 1?” debates in hockey history. By virtue of winning the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t a part of the Nico or Nolan conversation. Pittsburgh’s first selection will comes 31st overall, followed by picks in rounds three, five (2), six and seven.

Just because the marquee-name prospects won’t mean all the talent will be scooped up by the time the Penguins are on the clock. Recent Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stars like Oskar Sundqvist, Bryan Rust, Scott Wilson and Matt Murray weren’t even taken in the first 80 picks of their respective drafts. Jake Guentzel was selected 77th overall in 2013, and there’s not a hockey fan on planet earth who can try and belittle what he’s accomplished in his short pro career so far.

The point is: There’s always talent available at any point in any draft class. You just have to find it. Here are some names that Pittsburgh might be considering calling in Chicago this weekend…

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WHERE GUENTZEL’S STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS PERFORMANCE STACKS UP ALL-TIME

No matter how hideous you think he sounds on the phone, “Jake From State Farm” has been dominating the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans knew about Jake Guentzel’s skills and scoring prowess for about a full calendar year before hockey fans around the globe were introduced to his jaw-dropping capabilities. He’s not a secret anymore, and everyone has taken notice of his historic postseason production.

Guentzel scored his playoff-leading 10th goal on Monday night, making him just the fifth rookie in the league’s 100-year history to achieve double digits in goal-scoring in one postseason. He also has four game-winning goals, tied for the most by a rookie in history, too.

Ten goals isn’t the all-time record, though. Here’s a look at some of Guentzel’s peers in the history books. Who’s he chasing? Who has he surpassed? These are the names and faces he will be associated with when people talk about the finest rookie performances the Stanley Cup Playoffs have ever seen. Continue reading

2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition | LIVE BLOG

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ALLENTOWN, Pa. – We will be bringing out continued coverage throughout the night of the 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition at PPL Center. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Tristan Jarry and David Warsofsky will both participate in three events, so all you need to know about their performances and other  happenings of note will be chronicled live as they happen.

So keep that refresh button handy! Updates will come as quickly as the action between the East and Western Conference’s All-Stars.

Most recent information will appear at the top of the break below.


9:16 p.m.

FINAL – The Western Conference defeats the Eastern Conference’s All-Stars in the 2017 AHL Skills Competition, 15-11.

AWARD WINNERS:

Fastest Skater is Devon Toews of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He put up the second-fastest time in history, 13.478.

Hardest Shot is Kyle Wood of the Tucson Roadrunners, who unleashed a 99.3 mph bomb in his event.

Rapid Fire Goalie is Linus Ullmark of the Rochester Americans. He made eight-straight saves en route to an eight-for-10 performance.

Accuracy Shooting is Cole Schnieder of the Americans, who tied the all-time record of going four-for-five on his break the target attempts.

 

9:07 p.m.all-star-event-breakaway-relay
EVENT 7 – Breakaway Relay

The final event of the night. Five skaters go in individually on a goalie. After one person shoots, goal or not, he must skate back to the blue line before the next shooter can skate in.

Goals for points. That’s it.

• Linus Ullmark goes a perfect five-for-five saves out of the gate, including a barrel rolling poke-check save for save five.

• San Jose Barracuda goalie Troy Grosenick denies all five of the East’s shooters, including David Warsofsky.

• First goal of the event is the first shooter of the second round, Jack Roslovic of Manitoba. A beauty backhand roofjob, too. The West adds another goal thereafter and takes the overall score lead, 12-11.

• Jack Campbell stops all of the East’s shooters. Score holds. Two rounds gone, two to go…

• It’s a shame AHL schedules are strictly in-conference for teams like the Penguins. Fans don’t get to see players like Bakersfield’s Jordan Oesterle do what he does. He scores in the breakaway relay, but has been impressive all night in every event he’s participated in.

• Three rounds are done. The West has not allowed a goal. Tristan Jarry steps between the pipes for the East in the final round.

• Jarry lets two get behind him. Nifty moves by Spencer Abbott and Oliver Bjorkstrand. The east needs four goals on five shooters to tie in the final heat.

• Wow. The West’s goalies turn in a perfect 20-for-20 showing in the breakaway relay. Maybe it’s a good thing Wilkes-Barre/Scranton doesn’t play these guys. Shootouts would be… difficult.

The West takes it all, 15-11.

8:54 p.m.all-star-event-pass-and-score
EVENT 6 – Pass and Score

Cool event here. Groups of three rush into the zone all alone against the goalie. Every player must touch the puck once. If a pass fails and skitters awry, the play is dead and counts as a save for the goalie. The group of three regroups after every goal/save, and gathers a puck in the neutral zone and attacks again. Thirty second clock.

Every goal counts as a point towards the overall score.

• Thirty seconds goes by fast. If you get too cute, time runs out and you won’t get many attempts. Too few passes and these All-Star goalies can follow the play with ease. A lot at play here, but it looks like its enough time for everyone to get three attempts on average.

• West goalies coming up big through the first five heats.

• Spoke too soon on that last bullet point. Jordan Subban, Alex Grenier and late invite Chris Terry go three-for-three. Huge sequence for the East.

• And Tristan Jarry follows up that great offensive rush by the East by stopping all three shots faced! The first perfect goaltender in the event.

• The East is ROLLING. Another three-for-three by Jordan Weal, Chris Bourque and David Warsofsky to close out the event!

• Goal stripped from Warsofsky’s Pass and Score group. Rebounds do not count, through the crowd would like them to. East still big victors for the event.

The Eastern Conference has suddenly went from a 10-6 deficit to an 11-10 lead. Phantoms fans will have to begrudgingly thank Warsofsky and Jarry, too.

8:41 p.m.all-star-event-accuracy-shooting
EVENT 5 – Accuracy Shooting

Break the targets! Players receive passes from along the goal line by teammates and try and rip wrist shots at the targets positioned in the four corners of an empty net. They get 18 seconds to hit all the targets.

The individual with the most successful strikes in the fewest attempts earns a point for his team. Team with the best average hit:shot ratio earns a point.

• Cole Schnieder of the Rochester Americans denied going the elusive perfect four-for-four by the post. He finishes four-for-five, tying the AHL’s all-time record for the event. Big for the East.

• Lehigh Valley’s T.J. Brennan looked like a reliable anchor, but only hits three targets in the 18-second time limit. However, due to taking his time and limiting his attempts, the East takes both points. Huge. The West’s lead is cut to two… 7-5.

– Remember, folks, points are awarded for each individual event.

The Skills Competition pits the two conferences against one another.

After four events, the West leads the East, 7-3. –

8:28 p.m.
EVENT 4 – CCM Hardest Shot

Here comes Dougie. David Warsofsky and the rest of the Hardest Shot combatants are on deck. This one’s just as straight-forward as Fastest Skater. Shoot the hardest.

There are two attempts per shooter. The strongest of the two bids will count as that player’s score. The team with the highest average speed between four shooters earns a point. The individual with the hardest shot overall earns a bonus point for his conference, too.

Warsofsky will shoot second for the East.

• Warsofsky up to the plate. Time at to beat at this point is A.J. Greer’s 99.2 mph.

• Dougie earns the best time for the East thus far… 98.4. Midway through the event, East has the better average, Greeg has the bonus point for the West.

• Gun refuses to register for Tucson’s Kyle Wood on his first two shots. Gets to 99.3 on his fourth attempt, setting a new high for the event by a hundredth of a mph.

• 99.1 on Kerby Rychel’s first shot… can he up it on the second??? No.

• West wins the average score (98.1 mph) and individual speed thanks to Wood. The West has taken control on the overall scoreboard, 7-3.

OVERALL SCORES: West; A.J. Greer, 99.2 mph… Vincent LoVerde, 96.1 mph… Robbie Russo, 97.8 mph… Kyle Wood, 99.3… East; Casey Bailey, 97.4 mph… David Warsofsky, 98.4 mph… Jordan Subban, 94.0 mph… Kerby Rychel, 99.1 mph.

8:15 p.m.
EVENT 3 – AHL Live Rapid Fireall-star-event-rapid-fire

Two players line up in front of a goalie. They shoot very, very quickly. Point goes to the conference whose goalies make the most saves. Also, a bonus point is awarded to the team with the goalie who makes the most individual saves.

This is one of Tristan Jarry’s events, the first appearance by a Penguins tonight. He’ll go in the final round against Cleveland’s Oliver Bjorkstrand and Tucson’s Christian Fischer.

• The East gets a good start thanks to Rochester goalie Linus Ullmark. Eight saves on 10 shots faced. It was the last two shots he faced that beat him, too.

• After a few more heats, it looks like Ullmark might have this one locked up for the East. Two more rounds, one for each conference’s shooters. Jarry is the East’s anchor.

• Former Philadelphia and Adirondack Phantom Michael Leighton getting a nice ovation every time he’s announced here at PPL Center. He has to face a duo of Lehigh Valley shooters, though: T.J. Brennan and Taylor Leier. The crowd’s rooting interest seems… split.

• Leighton makes eight saves to tie Ullmark. Jarry needs six saves to secure the point for the East.

• Jarry goes down the middle. Five saves, five goals allowed. Overall score is tied 23 apiece. So one point is awarded to both teams. Also, since Ullmark and Leighton tied, the bonus point is null and void.

8:02 p.m.
EVENT 2 – CCM Fastest Skater

Simple. One lap around the ice. Go as fast as you can.

• Jack Roslovic, celebrating his birthday tonight, starts things off by going 13.674, third all time. Then Justin Bailey finishes 13.788, fifth all-time.

• Devon Toews speeds his way to 13.478, second-fastest ALL-TIME. Wow. He only trails Chris Summers, who did 13.324 in 2013. Toews wins the competition, but points split, 1-1. Overall score is 4-2 for the West.

OVERALL SCORES: West; Jack Roslovic, 13.674… Johnny Brodzinski, 13.787… Daniel O’Regan, 13.845… East; Justin Bailey, 13.788… Devon Toews, 13.478… Yanni Gourde 14.114.

7:51 p.m.
EVENT 1 – Sher-Wood Puck Control Relayall-star-event-puck-relay

Players take a full skate down the ice, retrieve a puck, then must return by maneuvering through a series of obstacles. Puck control is key. Units of three from the East and West go head-t0-head for the first two races. Then players go solo head-to-head for the final two. Winners of each race earn their conference a point.

• Cory Conacher blew a tire making a tight turn in Race #2. He made a nice recovery, but not enough to win the race. West took to the first two races and first two points.

• The West seemed poised to sweep the first event, but a big burst of speed down the stretch from home team favorite Jordan Weal steals a point for the East.

 

7:36 p.m.
Player intros starting, and so is the party here in Allentown.

• Hershey Bears Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd booed. Warsofsky and Jarry booed louder.

• Danny Brière is here as honorary captain of the East’s All-Stars, appropriately gets a nice reaction from the crowd. Never played for Lehigh Valley, but had a legendary career with the Philadelphia Flyers and played three games with the Philadelphia Phantoms once upon a time.

7:15 p.m.
Warm-ups have just come to an end at PPL Center. A couple of players hang around for fist bumps and photos with fans down at ice level. All of the glass that isn’t directly behind a net or near the corners has been removed, so fans can reach right over and interact with their favorite All-Stars as they go by.

Jarry and Warsofsky Excited for Skills Competition Before Their First All-Star Games

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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Tristan Jarry and David Warsofsky have arrived in Allentown, Pa. and are both participating in the first All-Star weekend of their careers. First up is tonight’s Skills Competition, for which the American Hockey League announced the participants for each event earlier this afternoon.

Warsofsky will be one of the eight players selected for the CCM Hardest Shot challenge, before joining other All-Stars for the Pass and Score and Breakaway Relay.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Warsofsky said. “It should be a lot of fun… I think I have a hard shot. I don’t know how it’s going to stack up against the other guys, but I should hold my own.”

Jarry, on the other hand, will be tasked with stopping a lot of shots in other events. He will find himself staring down some of the top snipers from the Western conference in the AHL Live Rapid Fire shooting gallery, the Pass and Score odd-man rush display, and finally, the Breakaway Relay.

“They’re all pretty exciting,” Jarry said. “I can’t say I’m more excited for one of them over the other. I’m just excited for all of them.”

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has only gone to one shootout this season, and that was the only time Jarry tended goal for a shootout in his two-year pro career. However, he’s not at all concerned about any rust in the final event thanks to the constant conditioning in practice from his captain, Tom Kostopoulos.

“T.K. loves doing a shootout,” Jarry said with a grin. “So he makes us do them at least once a week. I don’t think we miss any practice during our shootouts.”

While this is both Warsofsky and Jarry’s first All-Star event of any kind in their careers, one man in their locker room at PPL Center has become a veteran of sorts of the league’s annual display of elite talent. Matt Taormina of the Syracuse Crunch has been named to four AHL All-Star Classics and is participating in the festivities for the third year in a row. The defenseman has compiled the experience necessary to depart these words of wisdom to this year’s first-timers like Warsofsky and Jarry.

“Relax and have fun and enjoy it,” Taormina said. “There’s no pressure, so it doesn’t really matter what you do. Just have fun. We’re technically on break, too, you know? So keep it light. Take the time to talk to the other guys in the conference and get to know them a little better. Those are the guys you’re grinding away with through the year, so get to know how good of guys they are now. Because when the season starts again and you hit the ice, that’s a different story.”

 

NOTES

Warsofsky noted that he likes to use a stick with a lot of flex in the shaft during the season, and has no plans to change things up for the Hardest Shot competition. He’s also looking forward to seeing any action photos caught of him using all the torc possible in his flexy stick when the event is over.

Last night in the NHL Skills Competition in Los Angeles, Calif., Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith stole the show by scoring a goal from 200 feet into a tiny hole carved out of the bottom of a barrier filling the net. The jaw-dropping shot didn’t elude the eyes of Jarry, who watched it on the Penguins’ bus ride back from Binghamton last night.

“That was really neat, really cool,” Jarry said of Smith’s feat. “He’s really good at handling the puck. I’m sure he’s done it more than once.”

Jarry coyly stated that if you gave him 20 pucks, “maybe a few more”, he’d be able to nail the target from that distance, too. His coach, Clark Donatelli, backed up the claim.

“Jars can really shoot the puck, actually,” Donatelli said. “You know what, if he wants 20 pucks, I’d give it to him. He’s pretty good.”

Guentzel’s Great 2016

blog_guentzel-3The internet seems intent on decrying the year that was 2016. Check out any social media platform,
websites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post, or even weekly television programs like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and you’ll find countless repetitions of the same refrain. “2016 sucks.”

Of course, it’s easy to bury a year when you’re only remembering the down times. Negativity can easily cloud one’s judgment and make the good times easy to forget about.

So let’s talk about the good times instead.

The year 2016 was a great one for Penguins fans, as Pittsburgh captured the Stanley Cup, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton entered the calendar year in first place in the Atlantic Division and are poised to be one better, closing out the year in first place in the entire AHL. Team success has been evident, but perhaps no individual has enjoyed 2016 more than the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel.

Let’s take a look back at all the most memorable moments that Jake from State Farm gave us during his meteoric ascent to one of the best players in the AHL. Continue reading