The fallout from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ decision to delay training camp continued Monday, as the team’s first preseason game was rescheduled.
The Penguins were supposed to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown on Friday. Instead, the team announced the game has been moved to next Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s other preseason contest against the Binghamton Devils is scheduled for next Monday in Newark, New Jersey.
The Penguins were slated to start official practices on Monday at the Toyota SportsPlex, but the team released a statement Sunday saying they would be delayed until later this week “in adherence to AHL Return to Play Protocols.” A source told The Citizens’ Voice the decision was made out of caution following a single positive COVID-19 test.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton isn’t the only team off to a rocky start for the pandemic-delayed 2020-21 season. The Record’s Scott Linesburgh reported Monday that the Stockton Heat have decided to play their games in Calgary, Alberta, the home of their NHL parent club. That would likely mean a completely new schedule for the California-based team, which had 40 games booked in the Pacific Division.
Additionally, the province of Ontario has yet to approve playing status for its two franchises, the Belleville Senators and Toronto Marlies.
While the AHL hasn’t made an official announcement regarding a potential postseason, multiple sources reported Monday that the Calder Cup will not be awarded for the second year in a row. Michael Russo of The Athletic said the current plan is for the top four teams in each division to play best-of-three series to determine division champions. Therefore, the playoffs would only last about one week.
The Charlotte Checkers, who are one of three teams that have opted out of this season, are still the defending champions from their 2019 victory with former Penguins head coach Mike Vellucci at the helm.