Former Penguin Mike Sgroi has escaped the United Hockey League, for now.
Sgroi, who made his Binghamton Senators debut last Saturday in a 6-5 shootout win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, is on a 25-game tryout with the B-Sens.
According to the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, the team appears to be interested in Sgroi beyond that.
“But I guess we’re trying to work something out so I can be here for a while,” Sgroi told the Press & Sun Bulletin. “So it looks like they’re interested in having me here for a long period of time, so that makes me very happy.”
Sgroi appeared to have worn out his AHL welcome.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Toronto native started last season with the Albany River Rats. A bizarre – and hilarious – penalty box beatdown of Providence’s Garret Stroshein earned him a 10-game suspension. He never played for Albany again.
He eventually caught on with Syracuse, where he played another 16 games.
Despite a career-best seven goals and eight points, Sgroi was forced to start this year in the UHL. He had two goals and three points in four games with Elmira before the Senators, a team desperate for some toughness, came calling.
“I think one thing we’ve identified this hockey club needs is another guy that can bring energy and establish a forecheck and give us a physical presence,” Senators coach Dave Cameron told the Press and Sun Bulletin. “And we’re very pleased (with) what we’ve seen in Mike Sgroi, so he’s going to get an opportunity to do that.”
In his Senators debut, Sgroi did just that.
Last Saturday’s 5-0 win over Lowell meant more than your average win to the 5,223 Albany River Rats’ fans that turned out to Pepsi Arena.
It was, in fact, the first visit to New York’s capitol district by the New Jersey Devils farm team since the Rats and Devils ended a 13-year relationship last spring.
In recent years, the once good relationship between the Devils and River Rats had soured.
Albany has claimed that the Devils all but killed the market for AHL hockey by neglecting its top affiliate and refusing to let local management market the team.
That the Rats, now Carolina’s farm team, were able to beat up on the Devils’ prospects probably made a lot of those fans happy.
But according to Albany head coach Tom Rowe, they should remember that the Rats-Devils’ marriage wasn’t always a rocky one.
“I know there’s a history here between New Jersey and Albany and the fans – and rightfully so,” Rowe told the Albany Times Union. “The fans have got to remember, too, that they won a Calder Cup here with this organization. I know it wasn’t great the last six or seven years here, but they did give them some great players to watch when they were here early on.”
According to published reports, the Chicago shakeup that cost Trent Yawney his job almost cost the Norfolk Admirals their coach.
Apparently Mike Haviland was next in line for the Hawks head coaching job if Denis Savard had turned it down.
But while the Ads might not have lost Haviland to the NHL, they did lose their top two scorers.
Both Martin St. Pierre and Brandon Bochenski were called up early last week.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NHL,” St. Pierre told the Virginian Pilot. “And with this being the last year of my contract, this could be my one big chance.”
St. Pierre, who set a franchise record with 73 points last year, had six goals and 32 points in 20 AHL games.
Bochenski had 18 goals and 32 points in 19 games.