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Stop by for a Fill-Up of the latest Phantoms chat and other fun stuff with radio broadcaster Bob Rotruck.

Nov 4, 2013 - Now We Know / Penalty Kill

Saturday's win against Albany I think was the best game of the season for the Phantoms so far. I will be curious to find out if Terry Murray agrees but I would be surprised if he didn't. Adirondack was dominating. And playing their game. After two periods it was 3-0 with the shots at 27-13. Albany had a couple big chances including a Reid Boucher clean breakaway on a turnover at the Phantoms' line. But overall, I think that game as well as the week in general gives us an early sense of how good this team truly is. A couple of the other wins in this streak, Adirondack has been barely hanging on through some tricky stretches. Binghamton is a good team. And Cal Heeter standing on his head and denying pretty much everything was the big key for a couple of Adirondack's wins even when they were outplayed for stretches.

Before this four-game win streak, it was a bit tricky to tell how good they were...or should be. Sometimes playing well, sometimes not, and through all of it not able to buy a win. But there was no doubt that the potential for something really good was there. Jason Akeson wasn't going to go the whole season in a slump and Chris VandeVelde wasn't going to get denied over and over on point-blank opportunities. The goaltending wasn't going to have an .870 save percentage for the whole year. It just didn't make sense to take some of these aspects and think they were all going to continue.

It's also helpful to have the quality goaltending now. Yann Danis had a save percentage of .870 before his win on Saturday. And Cal Heeter's numbers were about the same before his tremendous week of 98 saves on 101 shots for a .971 percentage. Two goalies with .870 percentages just aren't going to get you many wins and both guys are easily better than that. We're seeing that now as well.


-- Adirondack's four-game win streak is their longest since Febraury 25 through March 3 of 2012. It is the fifth time the Adirondack Phantoms have won four straight. The last time the Phantoms have won five in a row was March 28 through April 5 of 2009 when the Philadelphia Phantoms won six straight and also had an eight-game point streak (7-0-1).


-- Adirondack's penalty kill has been tremendous. And the way they get through the opposing power plays has almost been "boring" more often than not (but in a good way). There are the occasional diving blocks and big scrambling goalie saves in there in typical "exciting" penalty-kill fashion. But those are only every once in awhile. Typically, it's been the other team trying to establish themselves in the zone and pretty much never being able to do it.

Adirondack either blocks them at the line (the littlest tip to disrupt things and you're going to hear that offside whistle)...or the Phantoms get to the puck first on the end-boards or in the corner and smoothly and casually launches it all the way out of there. Again and again. It's amazing how many penalty kills we have seen lately where they have not surrendered a single shot.

As Cal Heeter mentioned earlier in the week, "I think our penalty kill has been our best aspect by far." Definitely.

The Phantoms have held their opponents to 1-for-26 in the last 6 games and are at 88.0% on the season (6-for-50) for 3rd in the league out of 30. Adirondack trails only Norfolk (90%) and Texas (88.5%) in the PK.

Here's a super-crazy stat for you. Adirondack's penalty-kill at home: 100%.
Yup. Perfecto. Unblemished. Opponents are 0-for-25 at the GFCC. The Phantoms are the only team with a perfect PK mark at home. Maybe the opponents should take the hint and ask if they are allowed to decline their man-advantage.

Early in the eason, Adirondack had allowed two power play goals TWICE in their first four games. After the second time it happened, a 4-1 loss at Albany on Monday, October 14, that was a fact that had not slipped past Rob Bordson. He pointed that out in his postgame interview and said simply, "That's unacceptable." He was taking it personally. When a team has an extra man they ARE actually supposed to score every once in awhile. But "Bordo" (and the others) take great pride in their penalty-kill work and have used that slow start as their inspiration to now be among the best in the AHL.

Penalty kills take communication and coordination and trust in each other. It can't just be four guys doing their own thing and chasing the puck and trying to block shots. The support has to be there if one guy is going for it in the corner when he sees a quick chance. I think the succcess we are seeing on the PK's comes partly due to the players' familiarity with each other. Rob Bordson, Oliver Lauridsen, Cullen Eddy and Brandon Manning are in their third season killing these things together. Jason Akeson joined the PK midway through last season (or perhaps a little later) and Bruno Gervais and Matt Mangene are getting valuable minutes too. But when you have a mian group that has that famliarity with each other for multiple seasons that makes a big difference.


That's all for now. Some thoughts on Kris Newbury and three-in-three's (our first of the year is this weekend!) are on the way.

Questions and comments: brotruck@phantomshockey.com or twitter @bobrotruck

Until next time, Keep Truckin!

October 20, 2013 - Various Tidbits

Bourdon Article, Akeson Feature, Thoughts on Last Weekend, FitzGerald Fight-Card

-- Nice article by Dave Isaac in Philadelphia about Marc-Andre Bourdon's efforts to recover from his concussion issues. Rooting hard for MAB to make it back. His last game was November 30, 2012 with the Phantoms. He's a good guy who works hard and it would be a pleasure to get to broadcast his return game. In October, 2009 he was the youngest player on the debut version of the Adirondack Phantoms at just 20 years old. Now in his fifth pro season, we are left hoping that he isn't forced to retire. Unfortunately, it is a very real possibility. Click Here


-- Another nice article, this one by Alyssa Dombrowski of the AHL. A special feature for NHL.com on Jason Akeson. Some good quotes in there from Akeson referencing Terry Murray's efforts to improve his skating and defense and make him a more complete player. And from Terry about the strides Akeson has made. Click Here


-- Now back to the team. Obviously a 1-3-2 start is not the ideal beginning for the Phantoms nor is it one that anyone expected. This is a good team. In Terry's words, a better team than last year. I agree. Although it didn't look like it last Friday at Wilkes-Barre in a 6-3 loss to an exceptionally fast Penguins squad. But we got back to the positives and playing "the right way" (as I have heard Terry say perhaps 100+ times) the very next night against Springfield.

Nobody is happy with the 3-2 shootout loss to the Falcons. But everyone could see that the Phantoms played a very good overall game against a Springfield team that is one of the best in the AHL and is one of only two teams left with perfect records at 5-0-0 (the Penguins are the other).

I talked with assistant coach Riley Cote for the pregame interview and he could not emphasize enough how much they were trying to implore on the boys to keep it simple, get it in deep, stop getting overly cute trying to make plays that aren't really there. It was the mistakes and somewhat self-inflicted wounds that were so costly in the game against Wilkes. The Penguins deserve credit for jumping on the opportunities handed to them (and/or partly forced by them) but Adirondack got away from what they need to do and that needed to change.

24 hours later, that's what we saw Saturday against Springfield. Making smarter plays in terms of getting it in deep when that was the best idea, going after the puck and playing stronger on the boards, and getting better line changes too I thought. It was nice to see even though the W still didn't come. But playing "the right way" is what it's going to take. And there was no more talk of "unacceptable" in the locker-room after that one like we were hearing after the previous couple of setbacks where the team clearly wasn't playing up to their abilities. If they keep playing like that, the wins will be there.

A couple of the quotes I did hear sounded like they were coming from a somewhat deflated group of players. They played a terrific game and did not get the win. And losing a 2-0 lead against an unbeaten definitely stings. But you don't want a team of guys entirely satisfied that they "mostly played well even though they lost." I expect an especially motivated group this week during practice looking to carry over the positives of their Saturday game and expand on them.


-- Nick Cousins is really coming into his own. Last year when he joined us for the last couple weeks, I felt he wasn't entirely comfortable and was still getting the feel for the pro game a bit. He seems very comfortable out there now. Making smart plays. And showing off his creative abilities at more of the right times. And he has his first two career professional goals as a result. Getting stronger on the faceoffs too. He very much appears to be on his way I think.


-- Phantoms Power Hour Radio Show is LIVE this year at Recovery Sports Grill in Queensbury. Tuesday, October 29 at 7:00 PM is our debut show with the ever-popular Zack FitzGerald and Tyler Brown. Those two are pretty good buds. I told Tyler I would let him on the show as long as those guys made fun of each other. Tyler confirmed that "oh yeah, it will definitely be on!" Sounds good to me. It's also my birthday so come on out and enjoy the show. Zack and Tyler might sing happy birthday to me...which may frighten everyone and get them to turn their radios OFF all at once. Might not be the best thing for the show. But we're doing it anyway!


-- Speaking of Fitzy, he has taken over the league lead in penalty minutes with 46 in just 5 games played this year...barely ahead of Zack Stortini of Norfolk who has 43 and had 241 last season with Hamilton. And the Phantoms play Norfolk this Friday of course! FitzGerald has four fights. Stortini has five (including a couple fights October 6 with 6'8" Bridgeport D-Man Joe Finley, a former Caps first-rounder).

All four of Fitzy's fights have been on the road. Time for a GFCC Fitzy bout! Not like Fitzy wasn't TRYING to get his fifth fight....especially in Saturday's game. Ftizy and Derek Mathers were chasing Riley Grantham of Springfield all around the ice in the second period in an almost SlapShot-reminiscent sequence practically begging him to fight (from what I could tell). Grantham had jumped Ben Holmstrom a period earlier and the Phantoms didn't take too kindly to that. But apparently Grantham just wasn't interested apparently in actually squaring off in a more proper fight with either Fitzy or Mathers.

Zack FitzGerald (ADK) Fight Card
Oct 5 @ Hershey vs. Joel Rechlicz
Oct 11 @ Hartford vs. O'Donnell
Oct 11 @ Hartford vs. Stu Bickel
Oct 18 @ Wilkes-Barre vs. Pierre Luc Letourneau-Leblond

Zack Stortini (NOR) Fight Card
Oct 5 @ Hartford vs. Michael Haley
Oct 5 @ Hartford vs. Dylan McIlrath
Oct 6 @ Bridgeport vs. Joe Finley
Oct 6 @ Bridgeport vs. Joe Finley
Oct 11 vs Binghamton vs. David Dziurzynski


Until next time: Keep Truckin!

Send your questions and comments via twitter @bobrotruck or email brotruck@phantomshockey.com

(I promise I will really get some of them up here and roll with them. Thanks for those dropping me a line since my last blog report with their comments and to say how much they are enjoying the articles)


September 27, 2013 - Transactions Happen

The more things change, the more confusing they get. Oliver Lauridsen and Michael Raffl both being assigned to the Phantoms today now pushes the team's training camp roster to 34 players. Who stays? Who goes? Terry Murray indicates that the tryout and ECHL contract guys are indeed getting a genuine look here to see what they have. But there just isn't much room to keep guys really. We'll see.

Opening Night roster isn't exactly the end-all-be-all either. I think that's worth remembering. The roster will likely look somewhat different by January and even more different again by April. Injuries happen...both here and in Philadelphia. And either will obviously impact the Phantoms. Somebody sent down to Greenville of the ECHL now can still leave on good terms having made a positive impression here...and then find himself right back with us in a month when the need arises.

I looked at the transaction history for last year...which is a bit lighter than other seasons because of the NHL Lockout. When the lockout was happening there was not a single player who could be called up to Philly obviously...and the only guys who were sent down from Philadelphia were the players who were eligible to do so before the season started. The hope is that you don't need to make so many transactions throughout the season of course. But hockey is a dangerous game. And as I said before, injuries happen.

But even with the slow start to the transaction log we racked up 92 total player moves up and down from Adirondack to Philadelphia and also down and up to the ECHL (Trenton) in the 2012-13 season.

No, I'm not kidding. NINETY-TWO! Don't believe me? The full list is below. Happy counting!

Until next time, Keep Truckin!

Submit your questions and comments and I'll respond in here as well as on twitter.

twitter @bobrotruck or email - brotruck@phantomshockey.com


Nov 19 - Andrew Johnston (F)-Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Nov 19 - Jason Akeson (F) - Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Dec 4 - Matt Mangene (F)-Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Dec 4 - Matt Konan (D)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Dec 19 - Andrew Johnston (F)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Dec 22 - Andrew Johnston (F)–Reassigned from ADK to Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 1 - Marcel Noebels (F)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 2 - Shane Harper (F)-Reassigned from ADK to Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 3 - Blake Kessel (D)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 3 - Ian Slater (F)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 10 - Tyler Hostetter (D)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 10 - Shane Harper (F)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 10 - Matt Mangene (F)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 10 - Andrew Johnston (F)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 13 - Zac Rinaldo (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 13 - Tye McGinn (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 13 - Sean Couturier (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 13 - Eric Wellwood (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 13 - Brayden Schenn (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 13 - Marc-Andre Bourdon (D)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 15 - Tyler Hostetter (D)-Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 16 - Tyler Hostetter (D)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Jan 16 - Tye McGinn (F)-Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 17 - Brian Boucher (G)-Loaned to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 17 - Andreas Lilja (D)-Loaned to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 17 - Tyler Hostetter (D)-Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 21 - Tye McGinn (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 24 - Cal Heeter (G)-Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 24 - David Laliberte (F)-Signed to AHL contract from Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 24 - Kory Nagy (F)-Signed to Professional Tryout from Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 25 - Andres Lilja (D)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 26 - Eric Wellwood (F)-Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Jan 28 - Kory Nagy (F)-Released from PTO, Returned to Trenton (ECHL)
Jan 31 - Jon Sim (F) - Signed to Professional Tryout
Feb 2 - Jon Sim (F) – Signed to AHL Contract
Feb 5 - Blake Kessel (D)-Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Feb 10 - Brian Boucher (G)-Recalled by Philadelphia (NHL)
Feb 10 - Cal Heeter (G)-Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Feb 12 - Harry Zolnierczyk (F)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Feb 16 - Erik Gustafsson (D)-Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Feb 16 - Andreas Lilja (D) - Loaned to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Feb 22 - Tom Sestito (F) - Loaned to ADK by PHI Conditioning Assignment
Feb 25 - Andrew Johnston (F) - Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Feb 25 - Mike Testwuide (F) - Recalled to Philadelphia (NHL)
Feb 25 - Mike Testwuide (F) - Traded by PHI to Calgary for Mitch Wahl (F)
Feb 25 - Mitch Wahl (F) - Assigned to ADK by Philadelphia (NHL)
Feb 28 - Tom Sestito (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL))
Mar 1 - Michael Leighton (G) - Loaned to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 4 - Shane Harper (F) - Reassigned from ADK to Trenton (ECHL)
Mar 4 - Cal Heeter (G) - Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Mar 5 - Eric Wellwood (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 6 - Eric Wellwood (F) - Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 8 - Harry Zolnierczyk (F) - Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 9 - Cal Heeter (G) - Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Mar 9 - Michael Leighton (G) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 9 - Brian Boucher (G) - Loaned to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 10 - Cal Heeter (G) - Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Trenton (ECHL)
Mar 11 - Tye McGinn (F) - Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 12 - Matthew Ford (F) – Recalled to Philadelphia
Mar 12 - Matthew Ford (F) - Traded by PHI to CBJ future considerations
Mar 12 - Erik Gustafsson (D) - Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 15 - Harry Zolnierczyk (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 19 - Harry Zolnierczyk (F) - Returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 19 - Derek Mathers (F) - Signed to ATO with ADK
Mar 20 - Harry Zolnierczyk (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 21 - Cal Heeter (G) - Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Mar 21 - Kyle Flanagan (F) - Signed to ATO with ADK
Mar 25 - Tye McGinn (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 27 - Erik Gustafsson (D) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Mar 29 - Oliver Lauridsen (D) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 1 - Blake Kessel (D) - Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Apr 1 - Shane Harper (F) - Reassigned from Trenton (ECHL) to ADK (AHL)
Apr 1 - Mitch Wahl (F) - Reassigned from ADK (AHL) to Utah (ECHL)
Apr 3 - Erik Gustafsson (D) - Returned on loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 3 - Oliver Lauridsen (D) - Returned on loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 3 - Tye McGinn (RW) - Returned on loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 3 - Erik Gustafsson - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 3 - Oliver Lauridsen (D) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 3 - Tye McGinn(RW) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 3 - Brandon Alderson (RW) - Signed to ATO
Apr 3 - Cal Heeter (G) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 4 - Cal Heeter (G) - Returned on loan to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 6 - Mark Alt (D) - Reassigned to ADK from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Apr 10 - Tye McGinn (F) - Returned on loan to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 10 - Scott Laughton (F) – Reassigned to ADK from Oshawa (OHL)
Apr 16 - Brandon Manning (D) - Recalled from load by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 16 - Matt Konan (D) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 18 - Matt Konan (D) - Returned on loan to ADK from Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 22 - Jason Akeson (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 22 - Matt Konan (D) - Recalled from loan by Philadlephia (NHL)
Apr 22 - Tye McGinn (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
Apr 22 - Scott Laughton (F) - Recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)

September 23, 2013 - Wellwood Update - Training Camp Opens

Terrific article last week from Windsor, Ontario on Eric Wellwood and his recovery process.

Read the article here

I have received many questions from fans asking how he's doing so there you go. Refresher course: Wellwood suffered a horrific and potentially life-threatening injury on April 7 at Bridgeport. As he fell on his own and slid into the boards his left skate caught the back of his lower right leg and sliced a couple tendons including about 70% of his achilles.

I think it's terrific news that he's actually skating again albeit with much pain according to him in the article. I'm not sure when I thought he would actually be able to take to the ice again but I think getting out there by September is a nice sign given the severity of his injury.

In the article and accompanying video interview, he also makes references to "If" he returns to playing and "If" he is forced to retire early. That's what a few others have noticed the most and I guess that's fair. But let's be real here. He truly may or may not be able to return and his doctors have almost certainly told him that and told him he has to be aware of that possibility. And Eric wants to mentally prepare himself for that possibility. And he's had a lot of time just sitting in bed with his leg immobile with not a lot to do but play video games and watch TV....and hang out in one's own thoughts.

The estimate IF he is able to recover is in a 9-12 month range. Well, if it's closer to 12 months which would mean April 7 then I'm not sure that is worth it just to return to the team for the very end of the regular season and potentially into the playoffs. Similar to Ben Holmstrom with his knee injury. Holmstrom had the ability to potentially play for the last weekend or two of the season. But why push it? Just wait until the fresh beginning next season. Nice to see Holmstrom back out there as well by the way.

Anyway, we're all pulling for Wellwood to make a full recovery and be able to play again. That will make for a terrific and potentially spine-tingling moment when he does return to play an actual game. But I'm also happy to hear that he's having a fun time in the interim doing the part-time coaching thing with his former juniors team and that he is also thinking in terms of how his life will indeed go on and what he wants to do if playing isn't going to be in his future.


Training Camp for the Adirondack Phantoms technically and officially opened on Monday morning. It's fun for the fans in Glens Falls to have actual players back in town and skating on the ice. But for the players themselves this is not quite as a big of a deal except for the change in venue. Almost all of these players have been with the Philadelphia Flyers training camp for the past couple of weeks. And about 12 of them were getting going even earlier than that with the Flyers Rookie Camp that precded regular training camp. So it's not like the guys haven't been out there or practicing. They have. But the switch to Glens Falls does bring us closer to the actual season. And getting this group together as a team instead of in a huge group of 63 guys in Philadelphia's camp is probably helpful also.

Scrimmages Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the upcoming practices for the Phantoms which will be fun to watch. 3-on-3 passing drills up and down the ice aren't quite as entertaining from a spectator viewpoint in my opinion.

There are six tryout and/or ECHL contract players attending the camp as well. Don't forget that Adirondack's ECHL affiliate is in Greenville, S.C. this year. Their affiliate for the past couple of seasons was in Trenton, N.J. but that team suspended operations which left the Flyers in search of a new affiliate at the lower level. And they decided to go back to the team they were affiliated with three seasons ago...before they hooked up with Trenton. Probably 3 or 4 of the AHL/NHL contract players with the Phantoms will be sent to Greenville. Teams just don't have that many leftover players to send down to the "AA" level of hockey. In fact, Greenville is also affilited with the New York Rangers...so 3 or 4 guys who did not make the Hartford Wolf Pack roster will also head to Greenville.

It was somewhat similar last season in Trenton where the New Jersey Devils would send some of their guys to be teammates with some of the Flyers' prospects there. Then by the end of the season we would have a few Adirondack vs. Albany games that involved players who were teammates just a few days previously in Trenton. Goaltenders Cal Heeter of the Phantoms and Scott Wedgewood of the Albany Devils were teammates with Trenton at a couple different stretches for example.


Both preseason games this weekend will be broadcast on the radio on our official flagship station, Q101.7.

Saturday, September 28 vs. the Albany Devils in Glens Falls. 7:00 game. On the air at 6:40.

Sunday, September 29 at the Utica Comets in Rome, NY. 4:00 game. On the air at 3:40.



September 19, 2013 - Throwback Thursday!!

Oliver Lauridsen in his first pro fight...against Zack FitzGerald! On March 22, 2011 in Charlotte, NC.





September 19, 2013 - Training Camp Update

A few surprises in Wednesday's decisions from Philadelphia training camp. 24 players sent to Adirondack all at once is not a surprise. But some of the players that were and were not included definitely remind us that this stuff is not so easy to predict.

See the story and the full list here.

Jason Akeson and Tye McGinn both being assigned to Adirondack was what stood out to me. Akeson has played very well in training camp this season. Tye McGinn did nicely in his stints with Philadelphia last year. Now maybe neither one would have made the opening day roster for Philly (although I believe many expected that McGinn would be there). But I think we certainly anticipated that they would both last through the first round and join the team on their working-retreat and team-bonding weekend in Lake Placid...and then could get assigned to Adirondack after that.

Ultimately, Akeson has still only played just the one game with Philadelphia at the end of last season. I have to think he's close but they likely want to see how things go for him in the first couple weeks with the Phantoms and then see where the Flyers stand at that point as well. The point totals remained high for Akeson from his rookie season in 2011-12 to his sophmore campaign last year. But the difference in his play seems to be closeish to night and day. Getting in the corner. Getting a bit more physical. Hustling on defense. Not just a perimeter player anymore.

Everyone was surprised when Akeson was assigned to the ECHL at the beginning of last year. But the way things turned out for him by the end of the season getting enough accolades to receive a call-up and then a game in the NHL by the end of the year. Well, that ECHL assignment at the beginning of the year may actually be the best thing that ever happened to him...although I'm sure he wouldn't be too quick to agree to that.

For McGinn, I'm not sure where that decision comes from exactly. Perhaps just looking straight-up and what they need and how much they like some of the other players. McGinn did well in his time with Philadelphia last year and is clearly a better player than the year before. But there's always room for improvement. Work on his speed and his hands with the Phantoms perhaps?

Now staying up with Philadelphia in their cut down to 32 players was Chris VandeVelde which I think was a big surprise. He's not even on an NHL contract. Just an AHL contract. But he's played 28 NHL games with Edmonton the past three seasons and has done well with Oklahoma City in the AHL the rest of the time. I heard is name quite a bit in the Tuesday preseason televsion broadcast against the Rangers and also saw his name tossed around quite a bit on twitter in the Monday game. Well, he's still there. The Flyers are hanging onto him for a little while longer. Good for him. A promising start.

Ben Holmstrom, fully recovered from his knee injury we presume, is still with Philadelphia and so are Kris Newbury and goalie Yann Danis. Anthony San Filippo of philadelphiaflyers.com reports that there are waiver considerations for those guys so they can't be assigned to Adirondack yet. All three should make it here eventually. Although the veteran Newbury has a fair amount of NHL experience including six games with the Rangers last year so he might end up making a strong'ish push. Yann Danis will be ssent to Adirondack and will be the third goalie for the Flyers behind Steve Mason and Ray Emery should either get injured...which is very possible considering both have had issues in recent years.

Michael Raffl is a highly touted prospect from Austria whom the Flyers grabbed this summer. Raffl received offers from several NHL teams. There is some talk of him sticking with the Flyers and keeping a spot which I suppose is possible. I still have to think he eventually ends up with the Phantoms on Opening Night simply because they want to give him that opportunity to develop his game in the North American style. He was good in Sweden but didn't even play in the Swedish Elite League. He was in the Sweden Minor Leagues. And I agree with a couple other Philly writers I have read who believe it is just too big a jump to go from Sweden Minor Leagues straight to NHL without a step in-between.

Oliver Lauridsen has stuck with Philadelphia through this first round as well. Happy for the big guy. Ollie might make a serious push to stick around...but it's pretty jammed on the blue-line in Philly so for that to happen the Flyers may have to ship somebody else out. If Ollie gives them the confidence to make that move then it wouldn't be out fo the realm of possibility.

There are some guys who have been sent to the Phantoms for training camp who I would not expect to stick around for Opening Night. At least a couple guys, probably more, will be sent to Greenville, SC in the ECHL. Goaltender Carsen Chubak is one of those I would have to think. Emery and Mason in the pipes in Philly. Yann Danis and Cal Heeter to be the goalies in Adirondack. Chubak out of Niagara University goes to Greenville to get more reps in his professional debut season.


First practice for the Phantoms in Glens Falls is Monday morning. Free and open to the public so come by and check out the team if you feel so inclined.


More thoughts on the team soon.

As always, send your questions to be on twitter @bobrotruck or email brotruck@phantomshockey.com

I'll answer a few questions from the fans in my next round. So make them good!




September 19, 2013 - Parenthood

Okay, so it's been a little while since I updated the blog. For older stories including my popular interview with Zack FitzGerald please go to the bottom in "Archives - June-July 2013".

So on August 7, the same birthday as Sidney Crosby of all things, at 9:29 p.m. my wife and I welcomed our first little bundle of joy and our newest Phantoms fan, Aurora. Still feels kind of weird being an actual Dad now but I'm kind of getting the hang of it.

Aurora and I are both 42 as I write this. She's at 42 days and I'm a tad more advanced at 42 years.


Are my wife and I going to hell for mocking our child?

Pretty sure she wants to beat me up here. Future Phantoms enforcer?



June-July 2013

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