PENGUINS PODCAST SUMMER UPDATE / TOBIAS LINDBERG

The Penguins Podcast is back to get you up to date on all the happenings from the summer so far. Nick Hart leads you through news regarding free agency, development camp, the draft and more! Tobias Lindberg stops by the Podcast for a bit to talk about the crazy trade that made him a Penguin as well as World Cup action. There may or may not be a bonus guest that shows up later in the show, too…

D’ORIO FACED SHOTS, CHALLENGES LAST SEASON

Alex D’Orio experienced a baptism by fire this past season with the Saint John Sea Dogs. The reigning Québec Major Junior Hockey League champions had their talent pool pillaged by pro graduation and trades. D’Orio no longer had the security blankets of Thomas Chabot, Jakub Zbořil and Simon Bourque playing in front of him, so he faced a ton of shots on a nightly basis.

Imagine what you think qualifies as “a lot of shots”, and then add even more shots on top of that.

“I had sixty saves in sixty minutes,” D’Orio said, recalling a grueling contest on March 4 against the eventual Memorial Cup winners, Acadie-Bathurst Titan. “That’s a game I’m going to remember for a lifetime.”

That’s not cherry-picking one game where the floodgates opened in front of D’Orio, either. There were 15 different instances this season in which Saint John surrendered 40 or more shots while D’Orio was between the pipes. The then-18-year-old goaltender led the QMJHL in shots faced with 1651 (an average of 37.5 per game), and his 1478 saves topped league goaltenders, as well (33.6 per game). However, his save percentage finished below .900 and he only won nine games.

Despite the dramatic drop in his statistics from his draft year to last season, both D’Orio and the Penguins are taking his heavy workload as a blessing in disguise, perhaps even fast-tracking his development.

“It’s part of the junior process being part of a rebuilding team,” D’Orio said. “I received a lot of shots. I learned a lot this year. This year, I learned how to be a starter and how to receive shots… [I learned to] never stop competing. That’s a big thing.”

Goaltending Development Coach Andy Chiodo knows a thing or two about being peppered with shots from his time a professional netminder for 14 seasons. He knows the value of a young goalie getting the kind of experience D’Orio had in Saint John this past year.

“It’s all about how you react to that,” Chiodo said. “If you take it in a way where you improve your game, try to get better, make sure you can handle that workload night in and night out, and whether you get scored on or lose the game, your mindset stays where you’re trying to help your team get better and not get frustrated. Then it can serve you well. If you get frustrated, it wears on you and you start internalizing the losses.

“[D’Orio] has to handle that the right way. For the most part, it sounds like he did.”

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

KOSTOPOULOS, CHIODO EXPRESS EXCITEMENT FOR NEW ROLES, WBS MEMORIES

 

Tom Kostopoulos and Andy Chiodo both spent the start of their careers basking in the adoration of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans. Both players quickly earned the favor of the team’s supporters and became fan favorites, but it was the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs that the two cemented their legacies with the team.

As Kostopoulos and Chiodo were winning over Penguins fans with their play on the ice, that was around the same time that the fans carved out a special place in the players’ hearts, too. Chiodo says he can still hear the earth-shaking cheers of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton faithful ringing in his head.

“Those are the kind of memories that you just can’t forget,” Chiodo said. “It’s hard to describe. The fans were so engaged. They were so loud, and the energy that we got to experience from the crowd pushed us through those playoffs.”

Their careers eventually veered in different directions following that run to the 2004 Calder Cup Final, but Kostopoulos and Chiodo are back together again on the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey operations staff. On Wednesday, the long-time Penguins captain, Kostopoulos, was hired by Pittsburgh as Player Development Coach, and Chiodo was named Goaltending Development Coach.

“I think this development role will be good for me,” Kostopoulos said. “I’m learning a lot about it already, plus I’m really excited that [Chiodo] is coming in at the same time as me. Being able to work with him after playing with him and being good friends with him for a long time, I think it will be good for us.”

In a way, Kostopoulos was an extension of the Penguins’ development staff for years. Wearing the “C” in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while playing on an American Hockey League contract, Kostopoulos and Pittsburgh had a mutual understanding that even though the veteran still wanted to score as many goals and win as many games as he could while his playing career was still active, he was to mentor the younger players and help prepare them for the next step in their careers. By all accounts, Kostopoulos thrived in that role as a leader (and his offensive production rarely waned during that time, too.) Current Pittsburgh stand-outs such as Jake Guentzel, Matt Murray, Conor Sheary in addition to likely future studs like Dominik Simon and Teddy Blueger all have been vocal advocates of Kostopoulos.

Given his success with helping talented players reach the National Hockey League as a locker room leader, it’s easy to understand why everyone in Pittsburgh felt that Kostopoulos would be a perfect fit as a development coach. The man himself agrees with that assessment, too.

“My role kind of evolved to where I was trying to do everything I could to help those younger players while at the same time competing,” Kostopoulos said. “Pittsburgh has drafted really good players, but to say something like I had even a small role in helping them get to the NHL means a lot. Now, I pick up off that, I get to be on the other side of it.”

Chiodo’s playing career didn’t last quite as long as Kostopoulos’ epic 19 seasons, but he had already carved himself out a niche as a broadcaster in Toronto before stepping into a coach’s role last year. After one season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s, Chiodo departed to rejoin the organization that gave him his start in pro hockey. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fan darling plans on using his experience as goaltending coach with the 67’s in his new role with the black and gold.

“Every time I was in Ottawa, I felt like I learned something,” Chiodo said. “I had a great staff in Ottawa. Whether it was during individual meetings, the way they handled their video, the way they prepared for games, the way we all responded after games, I was absorbing it all. I think it was an ongoing process that I really enjoyed and I am grateful for.”

Kostopoulos and Chiodo’s jobs will take them across the continent, following draft picks and other prospects in the professional, collegiate and junior hockey ranks. Part of the appeal of the position is that you’re not quite as fully inundated in as season as one would be as a player. This made it attractive to Kostopoulos, who has made it perfectly clear that he wants to spend time with his family in retirement.

Furthermore, Kostopoulos, Chiodo, and Pittsburgh’s other development coach, Jarrod Skalde, are all based out the greater Toronto area. They won’t have to go far to congregate and discuss Penguins prospects and their progress, and Kostopoulos can still be close to home for his kid’s soccer game or a family movie night.

“Once my kids are finished with school in Dallas, (Pennsylvania,) we’ll be settling back in Ontario,” Kostopoulos said. “I think it’s a hub to travel and see Penguins prospects, but also get my kids back around their grandparents. It’s an exciting position for my whole family, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Of course, the job also requires frequent visits to Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Wheeling. Kostopoulos and Chiodo will mostly be confined to the press box and coaches’ offices, but if you happen to cross paths with one of them in the halls of Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, feel free to say hello. Even though they’re hockey ops now, they still feel the connection made as players with Penguins fans.

“I have such fond memories of the fans, the organization and that time period in my career,” Chiodo said. “The time that I had in Wilkes-Barre is something that I really remember in a fond way, and I’m excited to go back.”

TOM KOSTOPOULOS AND ANDY CHIODO HIRED BY PITTSBURGH


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players Tom Kostopoulos and Andy Chiodo have been hired to player development roles within the organization. Kostopoulos was named player development coach, and Chiodo was named goaltending development coach.

Both Kostopoulos and Chiodo will work closely with Penguins’ director of player development Scott Young and player development coach Jarrod Skalde.

Kostopoulos, 39, and Chiodo, 35, rank among the most popular players in the history of the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins, and both made their NHL debuts with Pittsburgh in the early 2000’s.

A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Kostopoulos recently wrapped up a 19-year professional career that included a combined 1,468 NHL and AHL regular season and playoff games. He is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s all-time leader in games played (658), goals (187), assists (282) and points (469), and he is one of only four players in hockey history to have logged 600 games at both the NHL and AHL levels. Kostopoulos served as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain for the final five seasons of his career.

Although he was playing in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Kostopoulos played an instrumental role in Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017. As Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain, Kostopoulos helped assimilate several of the young players who played starring roles for Pittsburgh to the professional ranks, a group that included Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary and Tom Kühnhackl.

Kostopoulos, the Penguins’ seventh-round selection (204th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, broke into the NHL with Pittsburgh during the 2001-02 campaign. He skated for Pittsburgh through the 2003-04 season, before playing with Los Angeles, Montréal, Carolina, Calgary and New Jersey. He totaled 157 points (61G-96A) in 630 NHL regular season games and five points (3G-2A) in 16 postseason contests.

Chiodo hails from Toronto, Ontario and the goaltender enjoyed tremendous success with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the outset of his professional career in 2003-04, helping the Penguins reach the 2004 Calder Cup Final. Chiodo led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 18 wins in the regular season that year, then tacked on three shutouts during the team’s playoff run.

Chiodo, who was selected by the Penguins in the seventh round (199th overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft, saw his only NHL action with Pittsburgh that season. He sparked a late season revival after joining the club in February. His first NHL win came on February 25, 2004, a 4-3 overtime defeat of the Phoenix Coyotes. Not only was that Chiodo’s first win, but that victory ended the Penguins’ franchise-record-tying 18-game winless stretch. Chiodo posted a 3-4-1 record in eight games with Pittsburgh, as the Penguins went on a 12-5-3 run to close the season after winning just 11 of their first 62 games.

Following his three-year run in the Pittsburgh organization, which included time with the Wheeling Nailers as well, Chiodo continued to play professionally in North America and Europe through the 2016-17 campaign. His 14 seasons included stops in Russia, Finland and Austria. In 2007-08, his Finnish team, Kärpät, won the SM-liiga championship.

Chiodo spent the 2017-18 season as the goaltending coach for the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League.

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

APRIL 25 A SPECIAL DATE IN PENGUINS HISTORY

April 25th is a special date for any old school Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fan.  That’s because two of the most famous goals in the team’s history came on that date just one year apart.

APRIL 25, 2004

The Penguins opened the 2004 postseason facing off with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and it wasn’t a good start.  The Sound Tigers held a commanding 3-1 lead in the East Division Semifinal round, with Game Five taking place on their home ice on April 22.

The Penguins staved off elimination in that contest when Tomas Surovy scored in overtime to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-1 victory.  That forced Game Six back in Wilkes-Barre the following night, where the Penguins blew out the Sound Tigers, 5-0, behind a 23-save performance from Andy Chiodo.

Game Seven took place back in Bridgeport on April 25, and saw the Penguins take a 2-1 lead into the third period thanks to goals from Tom Kostopoulos and Konstantin Koltsov.  But Rob Collins tallied just 64 seconds into the final frame of regulation, forcing overtime.

A little over midway through the OT, Matt Hussey picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, carried it over the blue line and fed Koltsov at the far face-off circle.  His low writer beat goaltender Dieter Kochan far side, and the Penguins capped an epic comeback in the series.

The Penguins went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phantoms and the Hartford Wolf Pack (again in overtime of Game Seven) before falling to the Milwaukee Admirals in the Calder Cup Final.

APRIL 25, 2005

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished the 2004-05 season in fourth place int he East Division, earning them a first round meeting with the Binghamton Senators.  The B-Sens led the entire AHL with 276 goals, thanks to firepower from Ottawa regulars Jason Spezza (32 goals) and Denis Hamel (39 goals), who spent the season in Bingo as the NHL lockout dragged on.

That offensive prowess was showcased in the opening two games of the series, as the Sens took 5-2 and 4-2 wins on home ice.

Game Three took place in Wilkes-Barre on April 25, with Binghamton jumping out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period thanks to a Christoph Schubert goal.

The Pens took their first lead of the series when Shane Endicott and Kris Beech scored power play goals seven minutes apart in the second, before Schubert notched his second man-advantage goal of the night to even things up, 2-2, at 15:11.

That was the last goal scored for the next 77 minutes of game time.

A scoreless third period led to two overtime frames which yielded no goals.  But, as the clock approached midnight, Ryan Whitney blocked an Anton Volchenkov shot in the Wilkes-Barre zone.  The shot off of Whitney’s skate found Beech in the neutral zone, and led to a three-on-one for the Pens.  Defenseman Pat Kavanagh struggled to get back in the play, which allowed Colby Armstrong to sneak past on the far side.  Beech found Armstrong at the far post, who redirected the shot behind Emery at 12:26 of the third OT, ending the longest game in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins history at 11:58pm.

That win turned the tide in the series, as the Penguins posted three more wins in a row to oust the heavily-favored Senators from the playoffs.


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Providence Bruins are currently tied, 1-1, in the best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinals.

The series moves to Wilkes-Barre where the Penguins will play host to the Bruins in Games Three (Thursday night) and Four (Friday night) at 7:05pm.

Individual tickets for both games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 570-208-7367.

Penguins postseason ticket packages, which include tickets to every home contest during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, are on sale now.  With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every home game in the playoffs, as well as their same seat guaranteed throughout the team’s playoff run. Fans can secure their seats for every home game by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

To have a Penguins representative contact you with more information, please fill in the form below.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information