Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Back-to-back shutouts, post-game shenanigans 2/6

The Adirondack Phantoms were shut out for the second straight game Wednesday at the Civic Center, losing a 3-0 decision to the Binghamton Senators, but the game's top story didn't transpire on the ice.

It happened in the coach's office, where, after keeping the media waiting for some 30 minutes, Terry Murray told a team representative he wouldn't be coming out to do his post-game press conference. And then it exploded on Twitter, after a Binghamton-based reporter included a comment from Murray in his game story that he later admitted was not said tonight. It also may not have ever been said.

Local reporters had gathered by the team's locker room, where the Phantoms have a backdrop set up. The team had a public relations representative standing outside the door of the coach's office, where he knocked several times over the 30-minute span to attempt to usher the coach to the backdrop.

On the last knock, Murray told the representative "I'm not coming out." But Murray apparently had no problem speaking to Matt Weinstein from the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, who quoted Murray as lauding the efforts of all-star Binghamton goaltender Robin Lehner, who had 29 saves.

“That goalie of theirs is the best in the AHL and we couldn’t solve him tonight,” the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin quoted Murray as saying. “I thought we did a lot of things well but in this game a hot goaltender can trump all of that.” A screenshot of the quote and story is below.

However, when asked about the quote on Twitter, the @PSBSens account subsequently Tweeted "I did not talk to him. Not sure how it got in" and added that he was removing the quote from his story. Later, Weinstein Tweeted the quote in question "was from a previous game" and that he copies "old game stories into my working text file for reference." When pressed further, Weinstein wrote on Twitter that he was "embarrassed by the mistake" and added that "It should not have happened".

However, a Google search of the Murray quote in question shows that it does not appear on the Internet prior to Wednesday. In the screenshot below, those four stories are all from tonight's game.

Taking this a step further, the Phantoms have played the Senators three prior times this season, but they had not seen Lehner before tonight. In all three prior games, the Senators started Ben Bishop. The quote doesn't specifically mention any goaltender, but Bishop is the best goalie in the AHL? 

The Murray quote has been removed from the story. But the Press & Sun-Bulletin story also included a comment from Phantoms goalie Brian Boucher, and that comment is still there as of 1:48 a.m.

“I felt good but we just got shut down by a good goalie,” the Press & Sun-Bulletin quoted the goaltender as saying. “The key for us is to look at what we can do better and try to go from there.”

Weinstein Tweeted that quote was legitimate, that he "asked an equipment guy for him and he came out a minute later". When contacted,  several members of the Phantoms equipment staff and other team staffers who would be in the locker room area said they did not recall receiving such a request.

Boucher, who the local reporters did not speak to after the game, could not immediately be reached for comment. He and the rest of the Phantoms are scheduled to practice at noon Thursday.

On Murray's actions, an AHL spokesman said the coach was within his rights to not speak to the media. But he added he would further investigate the matter Thursday. More on that in the recap.


On the game Wednesday: Binghamton's defense did a really good job of preventing the Phantoms from gaining entry into the zone. There were several power plays where the Phantoms really couldn't mount much of an attack. If they did, the Senators just kept clearing the puck right back down the ice.

For his part, Lehner did play a good game. There were a couple of chances where the Phantoms got some pucks deep -- Tyler Brown had good rush in the second period -- but on those few-and-far-between golden scoring chances, Lehner showed why he was an all-star.

“He played well,” Phantoms defenseman Cullen Eddy said. “He’s having a really good year. Credit to him. He made some big saves tonight. Unfortunately, on our end, we couldn’t get anything past him.”

Jon Sim, though, said it just came down to Adirondack not playing passionate hockey for 60 minutes.

“We have to get some passion back in our game,” Sim said. “Sometimes you have to play on the edge. You have to play with passion. You have to play with a spark. If you don’t do that, then you’re just out there playing hockey.”

Sim elaborated on that, sort of.

“You just can’t throw your sticks out there and play hockey,” Sim continued. “You have to play with a passion and play with an edge. It was kind of that way of the game. We didn’t have it. They didn’t really have it either. We have to find a way in here.”

Much more tomorrow.

-- MC