Thursday, January 31, 2013

That's Jon Sim's music 1/31

Photo Courtesy: Philadelphia Flyers
There was a new face on the Glens Falls Civic Center ice for Adirondack Phantoms practice Thursday morning, but it was one that was familiar to the team's coaching staff.

The Phantoms signed veteran winger Jon Sim to a professional try-out contract, and he will be eligible to play in the team's 7 p.m. home game Friday vs. Norfolk.

Sim, a gritty 35-year-old with 469 games of NHL experience, has ties to all three Phantoms coaches.

He won a Calder Cup with assistant coach Riley Cote in 2005, when the two both played for the Philadelphia Phantoms. Kjell Samuelsson was their assistant coach.

Then, when Sim graduated to the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers in 2005-06, Terry Murray was his assistant coach.

“I know what they want,” Sim said after he wrapped up his first Phantoms practice Thursday. “I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing.”

What the Phantoms want is not all that difficult to figure out. They have 99 goals, the fewest in the Eastern Conference, and Sim has racked up 184 points in 194 career AHL games. Thirteen came in 22 games this year with the San Antonio Rampage, which he joined on a try-out basis in December.

“He’s hard on pucks and he’s really good in front of the net," Cote said. "He has good hand-eye coordination and he’s good with deflections. We need that. We need more scoring, obviously, and he’s a guy that competes. He gets underneath the skin of opponents. He plays the game hard.”

Sim, who won a German Elite League championship last season with Berlin, spent the first two months of this season at home in Nova Scotia. The NHL lockout made it difficult for him to find work. But the Rampage signed him to a try-out contract last month and he got off to a quick start, scoring four goals in his first six games. The Rampage wanted to keep him, he said, but the Flyers made a better offer. The familiarity with the coaching staff helped him make his decision, he said.

“What I like is the fact that he’s been a part of the Flyers before,” Murray said. “He knows what the expectations are and we know him, his role. I think he’s going to be a great add to our hockey club.”

In adddition to the scoring punch that Sim packs, Murray said he likes the winger's ability to bring a veteran presence to the locker room. He has played for Dallas, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta and the New York Islanders in the NHL, recording 139 points. He spent Thursday's practice on Adirondack's top power play unit, and should hold down that position well.

“He’s got very good hands and a very good stick around the net,” Murray said. “That’s why he’s in the front of the net area on the power play. Any loose pucks that are there, he’s got a real nose for it and he can pounce on those loose pucks and get second and third opportunities.”

In talking with both Murray and Cote, it seemed like Sim is exactly the kind of player this team had been missing. He's not just a veteran with experience, but he also plays the game exactly the way the Phantoms want their prospects to play. Cote said it was surprising that Sim was still available at this point in the season, that San Antonio or any other team had not locked him down with a contract.

"He goes to the greasy areas," Cote said. "Maybe these young guys can really see ... what it takes to score goals. You have to get involved. You have to go to the greasy areas and you have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit. Those are the guys that score the goals you see around the NHL or any league, really. The common denominator is guys going to the net hard, sticks on the ice and finding loose pucks. He brings that. He'll drive the net, he'll knock the net off the moorings and run into the goalie now and then. He finds greasy goals. That's what goalscorers do. He's shown that at the American League level and he's put up decent numbers at the NHL level. He'll bring that, for sure."

More on Sim in Friday's paper. Also spoke with Eric Wellwood today. More on that in a few minutes.

Until next time,


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