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It's Here....Opening Night!

October 13, 2012

 

By Bob Rotruck

 

Adirondack Phantoms (0-0-0 / last year, 37-35-4) vs.
Portland Pirates (0-0-0 / last year, 36-31-9)

Head Coach:
Adirondack Phantoms - Terry Murray
Portland Pirates - Brad Treliving

Welcome to the 2012-13 season, presented by Bud Light. It's that time again everyone. Hockey is back! The Adirondack Phantoms take on the Portland Pirates tonight at 7:00 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Come out and cheer for our great team this season.

The key for the team is chemistry. Out of 25 players on the Phantoms roster, 18 return from last year. And in total, 20 have played for the Phantoms before.

The bigger key perhaps is NHL experience and confidence. Nine of our skaters played for the Philadelphia Flyers last year and 10 have if you include previous seasons. That's a full 40% of the roster that has NHL experience. And most of those players have extensive experience in the NHL of a half-season or more.

This is an impressive lineup of talent on the Phantoms this year. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier were two of the most exciting and talented young players in the NHL.last season. And we've got 'em! Couturier scored a hat trick in an NHL playoff game last year against Pittsburgh and was also referred to as a very good defensive forward by Jaromir Jagr after his impressive shut-down of Evgeni Malkin. That's quite a tribute. And now we have exciting players like that with us here with the Phantoms.

Some of other players with NHL experience last year we are more familiar with from their time with the Phantoms leading up to that. Marc-Andre Bourdon, Eric Wellwood, Erik Gustafsson, Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk all proved their abilities with the Flyers last season and many would almost certainly have grabbed spots on the NHL opening night roster this season too were that available.

Then you have a guy whose experience has come entirely in the minor leagues who is a bit older than most on the team, 28 year old Matthew Ford. He was the team's go-to player in the last two months of the season. He was acquired in early Feburary in a trade and all he did after that was just go crazy on the attack with 19 goals in 31 games. He had nine game-winning goals to finish second in the league, including an overtime winner at Albany. He also registered a hat trick against that same Albany team. But obviously with that many game-winners he had several other key goals in there too. Now he's here for a full season with the Phantoms and I look for him to do even bigger and better things.

This league is going to be something else this year. The talent witnessed at the Glens Falls Civic Center will be of a higher caliber than ever witnessed here before. Adirondack did not have an AHL team during the last NHL lockout of 2004-05 so were not able to enjoy the increased pace and speed of the league that season. But Phantoms fans in Philadelphia sure did. That team was stacked with all kinds of talent and they went on to take the Calder Cup championship. Maybe our Phantoms in Adirondack can do the same in 2012-13! The lineup sure looks good on paper and this team has as good a chance, or better, as any in the AHL to have that shot.

We certainly hope the NHL lockout ends as soon as possible. But while we have these kind of players here we're certainly going to take the "glass is half-full" approach to enjoying our opportunity.

The AHL is already a top caliber league to begin with. Over 88% of all NHL players come through the AHL to get there. Very few players just go straight to the NHL while skipping over the American League. But with the additional players that were eligible to play in our league during the NHL's lockout, that quality of play is certainly going to be higher and everyone knows that.

In the meantime, there is a new head coach too. Terry Murray brings an impressive list of credentials as he reutnrs to the Flyers organization, this time to coach their AHL team. Saturday night will be his first in the AHL since 1990-91 when he "skippered" the Baltimore Skipjacks. He rates in the top 20 all-time in NHL games coached (1012) and won (499). In the 77 year history of the AHL, nobody has coached more NHL games than Terry Murray. This is an amazing opportunity for our players here to work with such an experienced teacher of the game. 1,012 NHL games, and here he is back in the AHL to work with the even younger players!

It's going to be a fun ride and I can't wait to get started...which I officially do Saturday night at 6:30 with the Pepsi Countdown to Faceoff on Q101.7 and ustream.com/channel/phantomsradio

See you at the game!

 


Pick up your Phantoms schedule posters! They're available now at the Adirondack Phantoms offices located downstairs inside the Glens Falls Civic Center. Also look for them around town. Pick up an extra and post it on the door or window of your area store or business. Help spread the word...Hockey Season is Coming!!

Opening Night presented by Nemer Ford is on the way! The Adirondack Phantoms opener for the 2012-13 season presented by Bud Light will be Saturday, October 13 at the Glens Falls Civic Center featuring great retro-style red jerseys that will be auctioned to the fans following the game. Magnet Schedule giveaway that night presented by Great Meadow Federal Credit Union.

Get great savings with the Phantoms when you purchase a season ticket PLUS never waste a ticket. Your unused game tickets can be redeemed for future Phantoms games. 22-game and 12-game packages available as well.

I'm In! We need 1,756 season ticket holders for this season to help prove the viability of Glens Falls as a great hockey market. The league and other teams are watching! We're almost there. Keep it up, fans! To join the "I'm In" campaign, contribute your $50 down-payment to a season ticket for 2012-13 or ask about a 22-pack or 12-pack ticket plan. Together we can do this. Call the Adirondack Phantoms at (518) 480-3355.

 

 




 
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