Monday, March 11, 2013

Tye McGinn is reportedly back, and so am I 3/11

Greetings, all. Been a busy couple of days covering Saratoga Springs High School's first state championship since 1999, so I've missed some Adirondack Phantoms news. Let's play catch up.

First, the Philadelphia Flyers assigned Tye McGinn to the Phantoms, according to this Tweet from Flyers inside reporter Anthony San Filippo. This is an opportunity to get McGinn, who has been sidelined since his Feb. 25 fight with Mike Brown, some playing time and a chance for him to get back to game speed. There are practical reasons for assigning him to the AHL outright, as opposed to a 14-day conditioning stint: He and his NHL cap hit come off the NHL roster, and that would not be the case if he were here on conditioning. There's also no restriction on the length of his stint in the AHL.

He doesn't have to clear waivers because of his contract status, so why not do it this way?

McGinn has five points (3-2) in 15 games with the Flyers and 15 points in 33 AHL games this year.

Adirondack completed a five-point weekend by winning in dramatic fashion Saturday and then losing in a shootout Sunday. The shootout loss bumped them up to 51 points, and they are no longer in sole possession of last place in the AHL. They share that distinction with St. John's, now winless in six.

Jason Akeson completed his own personal five-point weekend by notching his first AHL hat trick Saturday and adding a goal and an assist Sunday. That's significant because two of his goals Saturday came within the final six minutes as the Phantoms rallied from a 3-1 deficit to stun the Whale 4-3. His hat trick goal not only stood as the game-winner, but tied him for the long-departed Brayden Schenn for the team scoring lead with 33 points. His two points Sunday gave him sole possession of the lead.

The Phantoms had a bit of a goaltending carousel before Saturday's game against the Connecticut Whale. Michael Leighton's conditioning assignment that couldn't actually be called an official conditioning assignment ended, so he went back to the NHL. Adirondack called up Cal Heeter from Trenton to back up Scott Munroe while they awaited the arrival of Brian Boucher, Leighton's brief NHL replacement, from the Flyers. Boucher didn't have to clear waivers because he didn't spend enough time in the NHL. Boucher arrived after the game, and Heeter was sent back to the ECHL.

Here's the latest AHL playoff primer. The Phantoms can finish with a maximum of 87 points, and that number goes down anytime they don't win, even if they lose in a shootout. As soon as you start seeing teams get above that mark, the Phantoms will start becoming mathematically eliminated from certain seeds. For example, any combination of wins and losses that sees conference-leading Springfield (79 points) pick up nine more points and Adirondack lose nine points would mathematically bounce the Phantoms out of contention for the No. 1 seed. That will trickle down.

It's something to keep an eye on. More after tomorrow's practice.
-- MC


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