Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First day at the rink 10/9

Hello everyone.

Be sure to check out our introductory post if you missed it. I've got some updates from the first Phantoms practice at Glens Falls Civic Center this year, which ran for about two hours.

Yes, that's correct. A lot of fans left after the first hour session, thinking it was over. But the team is going to do some double sessions with a break for ice resurfacing in the middle.

First the line combinations, which I've always found to be very popular. There's still a long way between now and the team's home opener this Saturday, so take these with a grain of salt.

Forwards (15)
Matt Ford - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn 
Ben Holmstrom - Garrett Roe - Tye McGinn
Zac Rinaldo - Andrew Johnston - Tyler Brown
Harry Zolnierczyk - Rob Bordson - Eric Wellwood
Mike Testwuide - Matt Mangene - Shane Harper

Defensemen (8)
Eric Gustafsson - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Danny Syvret - Brandon Manning
Oliver Lauridsen - Cullen Eddy
Zack FitzGerald - Jeff Dimmen

Goaltenders (2)
Scott Munroe
Cal Heeter

A couple of thoughts on those. Terry Murray said he was leaning toward keeping that top line intact. If he does, it could have the potential to be one of the most dangerous weapons in the entire American Hockey League. You've got Ford, a point-a-game guy in Adirondack a year ago who has improved his point totals in every year, playing on a line with two NHL players. Not bad.

Here's Matt Ford, who turned 28 today, on his linemates.
“For me, being an older guy, playing in this league for a few years. I’m excited to get going. I haven’t played in the National Hockey League. This is the best hockey I’m going to be playing in my entire career so far. I’m excited to get going. It’s going to be competitive. It’s going to be fun to watch. I think the fans are going to like the product out on the ice.” 
Secondly, here's Marc-Andre Bourdon on the team's defensive corps, which could be a strength.
"We just have a good seven d-men. There's no top-three. I think all the defensemen are top-three quality. There's Syvret, there's Lauridsen, Eddy and (FitzGerald). They're all good d-men ... It's going to be nice. You play with anybody, you have confidence in anybody."
A lot of people were surprised on Twitter when Jason Akeson, who led the Phantoms with 55 points last year, didn't make it past the Phantoms' first round of training camp cuts. Had the chance to talk to Phantoms coach Terry Murray about that today. His response is below.
"We're all aware that Akeson had a good rookie year and put some points up on the board. He's a player that has to play on your top two lines. With the NHL lockout, there's a reaction and players get pushed down. With Schenn, Couturier in particular coming, it puts players in different situations and Akeson, as a result, is not in our top two lines and therefore it's better for him -- in our opinion -- that he would play in Trenton, be an important player, play on the No. 1 line and keep his game in order."
Here's how we're going to do the Phantoms preview this year. In tomorrow's paper, we've got a feature story on Couturier and Schenn and how they are handling the lockout. Did you know that this isn't Couturier's first time to Glens Falls? His father, Sylvain, played for the Red Wings in the 1992-93 season, a few months after Couturier was born. He doesn't remember much of his time here.

Thursday, we'll have a feature on the Phantoms' goaltending tandem of Scott Munroe, who is no stranger to the Phantoms franchise, and Cal Heeter, a rookie who won a training camp battle for the spot. Heeter had some pretty insightful things to say. By winning that battle and because of the lockout, he gets to start his development in what will be the top pro hockey league in North America.

Friday, we'll talk to some of the Phantoms sophomores. The story will mainly focus on Brandon Manning, who really came alive after getting into some NHL games last March. He finished with 19 points in 46 games, but nine of them came in his final 12 games. We'll also hear from Tye McGinn, a power forward whose junior success didn't immediately translate to the professional game.

Saturday, we'll hear from Terry Murray and what he hopes to accomplish in his return behind the bench. We will also preview the Phantoms' home-opener, set for that night against for Oct. 13.

Hope you'll stick with us for your Phantoms coverage this season.

Until next time,


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