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Bob Rotruck Blog





Phantoms broadcaster Bob Rotruck thoughts on the Phantoms...and other stuff.

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January 9, 2013

What now?

Predictably, it is getting somewhat crazy fairly quickly in Phantoms-land this week. NHL Lockout is over. And now the player moves will be starting to roll in.

They aren't official yet but we know what's happening at the start of this anyway. Head coach Terry Murray tells us that five players will be heading up to Philadelphia for training camp including Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood and Tye McGinn. For the time-being and without knowing what the future plans are, I'm a little surprised that Harry Zolnierczyk and Brandon Manning are not in that group. But maybe they are and we just don't know that officially yet.

A lot of fans in Philadelphia especially have been asking us things like "What about Erik Gustafsson?" Well, he's still hurt with that shot he blocked off his ankle back on December 19. Adn I think it's still going to be a little bit. And when he does return they would like to at least get him a couple games in Adirondack to see how he does. Maybe longer if it is decide he really needs to take it slowly.

Marc-Andre Bourdon is another future possibility but, like Gustafsson, has been out with injury. His concussion symptoms have been an issue again and he has not played since December 1. He is back in town with the team though so that's great news. Here's to hoping he will return really soon.

On the Phantoms' end, we are gaining Garrett Roe who has been out the past couple of weeks after a nasty hit he receiving on December 28 against Providence. And Coach Murray has said that four players are on their way from Philadelphia. They include Shane Harper, Andrew Johnston, Matt Mangene and Tyler Hostetter.

None of the player moves are "official" yet but Coach Murray has mentioned them publicly to the media so we are okay to talk about them here in the blog at least....and they seem as good as done.

All four of those guys have been with the Phantoms before...although for three of them, not much. Harper is easily the most familiar name of the bunch. He had good stats last year with Adirondack and also played some here the season before...and even a little bit at the end of 2009-10.

Johnston and Mangene are rookies who have both been with the Phantoms for part of the season and down with the Trenton Titans for most of the year. Mangene was off to a good start this year but was injured on October 28 at Syracuse and then went down to the ECHL to log mucho minutes.

Hostetter is the only defenseman of the four and is also the only player who had not been with the Phantoms yet this season. But he had brief call-ups to Adirondack in each of the last two years. So while the fans might not remember him all that well because he has not played in many home games, he does know his way around town and knows the others on the team.

Add into the mix the other three players from Trenton who were called up last week including 20-year-old Marcel Noebels from Germany, former Western Michigan University captain Ian Slater, and second-year defenseman Blake Kessel.

That's seven "new" guys coming to Adirondack if you want to look at it that way. Although nobody really considers Harper to be new. He was barely down in Trenton for a week, put up quite a few points, and now there's plenty of room on the roster for him up here again.

I'm not even sure all of these guys who have been called up with stay. When the Phantoms receive one or two players back from Philadelphia training camp then I would guess Adirondack will in turn send a couple guys back down to Trenton. So they have a really quick stretch here to try to impress Coach Murray and see if they can hang onto their AHL roster spot.

 

I wrote a little bit in the Phantoms Weekly release to wish well to Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn and thank them for their three months of exciting hockey here. Some amazing goals we were treated to by these NHL players. And good luck to them and Rinaldo too as well as Wellwood and McGinn and anyone else who is able to crack the Flyers' roster. We will miss you guys but will be cheering for you on TV!

Speaking of "anyone else who will make the Flyers roster" though, it is worth noting that these guys are going up for training camp with Philadelphia and have not made the team. There isn't a lot of roster room up there. Somebody will be coming back to the Phantoms after the camp is over and Philly gets ready for their first game on January 19. Probably more than just one player I would guess. But we'll see. It will be competitive for sure. And our Phantoms players have a distinct advantage over the more experienced Flyers who haven't been playing actual games the past three months. Now most of the guys went over to Europe and were playing. But not everyone.

It's one thing to be skating around and practicing with a few teammates or buddies in that time. But "game shape" is an entirely different thing. And our guys have that and should be better prepared to step right in and contribute immediately.

The first few games of the NHL season will undoubtedly be sloppy and not the best hockey. But at least we have a few guys who have been playing together and should be in pretty good shape.

 

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December 14, 2012

Hi Phantoms fans!

Lots of stuff happening this weekend beginning with Teddy Bear Toss Night against Syracuse tonight. Will Shane Harper again score the big Teddy Bear Goal like last year? We'll see. Always fun when a few hundred teddy bears all go flying at the same time.

The game should be quite good. Last time Adirondack played Syracuse last Saturday was one of the best games I've seen. Hard-working Phantoms holding Syracuse to 0-for-10 on the power play and then pulling out the win in the shootout.

I think Syracuse tends to bring out some of the best in the Phantoms. They play up-tempo (Terry Murray loves the word "tempo") and get the puck moving and the Phantoms have the speed and guys to match that. Really looking forward to tonight's game specifically. And then they do it again next weekend too. Phantoms travel to Syracuse on Friday, December 21.

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The big news out of this week involves Ben Holmstrom. Out with a knee injury and have surgery on December 20 in Philadelphia. They still are not sure the extent of the damage though and will not know until they actually get in there and poke around and have a look arthroscopically (is that the right word?). They are waiting for the swelling to go down.

Holmstrom is the captain of the Phantoms and is obviously an important part of the team. His play on the ice and his leadership off the ice are both significant. Holmstrom has played in 171 games as an Adirondack Phantom which puts him four away from Kevin Marshall's all-time record of 175 (Jon Kalinski is second with 172).

From what I have read, there is a chance this will not keep him on the shelf too long so fingers crossed that is the result. But there is also the chance it could be much longer than that. It's all a waiting game at this point. Nobody knows.

In the meantime, some other players will have to step up their game.

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Dave Strader joins me in the broadcast booth for tonight's game...well, part of it anyway. Always enjoyable to catch up with Dave. And for a little bit longer than our occasional elevator or lobby chats when we bump into each other (we live in the same building just around the corner from the GFCC).

Dave is an NHL broadcaster on NBC and NBC-SN now and has been doing college basketball for them during the lockout. The Glens Falls native was the original voice of the Adirondack Red Wings from 1979-84 and then received the call-up to Detroit to broadcast in the NHL where he has been ever since. A true pro and good guy.

We also have the championship call from May 20, 1981. The Adirondack Red Wings defeated the Maine Mariners in Game 6 of the Calder Cup. That will be played back as well from the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Famer (he was inducted last March along with Pete Mahovlich, Murray Eaves, and ironman-trainer Dave Casey)

It somewhat reminds me a little of what happened in Fort Wayne, Indiana about a month ago. Mike "Doc" Emrick from NBC broadcast the Ft. Wayne Komets game with Bob Chase who he grew up listening to. Mike is no spring chicken at 60 years old. But his mentor and long-time Voice of the Komets is 84 and still going strong in his 60th year broadcasting for Ft. Wayne. He was the first announcer Mike ever listened to as kid and then he went on to meet Bob and get tips on how to get into the broadcasting business, etc.

Was a neat story last month. And now tonight we have our own version of that as we bring Dave Strader into the Adirondack broadcast booth for part of the game. I'm not sure if he has called any Adirondack hockey games since 1984. I will have to ask him. But I can't imagine how he would have had time with his normally super-busy NHL schedule.

A couple years ago, Dave was the broadcaster for the Phoenix Coyotes and also doing occasional work for NBC. But then NBC really stepped up their broadcast coverage and they needed their announcers to be full-time. Mike Emrick surrendered his long-time gig with the New Jersey Devils and Dave Strader gave up his work with the Phoenix Coyotes. They are sad to leave their teams of course but were excited to be doing so many more games nationally for NBC.

Because he was no longer working for any one NHL team, Dave could live wherever he wanted to. NBC would fly him out to whatever national TV job he had next whether it be Boston or San Jose. And he and his wife, Colleen, chose to come back to Glens Falls. They are both from the area and have many family ties and friends. They really seem to be enjoying their time in the North Country.

So that's the explanation of why Dave Strader of NBC is around Glens Falls and is available to come to tonight's game.

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Cover your ears or run for your lives or whatever you need to do. My horrible singing voice will e featured during the intermissions on our Christmas Video. Amazingly, I think I might actually be a little better than some of the players. I didn't think it was possible to be worse than my singing voice.

Some of the guys got together to do that with little duets (or more). My duet partner was Dax...who whistled. I kind of had to carry it.

 

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Trying something a little different for the Phantoms Power Hour (Monday at 7:00pm on Q101.7).

I know that most (all?) fans have not heard every minute of every show. We had some fantastic comedy with the guys in pretty much every episode. Michael Cignoli and I are going to compile our favorite moments so far and play them back all in the same show. So get ready to enjoy again Cal Heeter's breakdown of his history of cars, Mike Testwuide's explanation of his Just for Men Mustache, Oliver Lauridsen getting on my case for my coffee habit, and Garrett Roe's thoughts on Cullen Eddy's conversation skills....among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 




 
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