Noise Nation Superfans Talk @phantomshockey with @KeithGroller

The Noise Nation Superfans got together today at Rileys in Egypt to talk Phantoms Hockey!

With special guest Keith Groller!

Enjoy!

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HURRY UP! FIX IT! LET’S GO!

“I wish you’d drop what you’re doing
And get on the case
We could blow this existence
Right out into space”

–Wang Chung, Let’s Go

I’ve been holding my breath.  I’ve been making excuses.  But no more.  It’s time to get moving.

Our new Lehigh Valley Phantoms STILL do not have a proper web site.  The PhantomsArena address was all fine and good while the team was still  playing in Glens Falls, NY.  But now, it’s woefully inadequate.  The preseason is over.   The season starts in less than 48 hours.  The home opener is in just over a week.  And yet, PhantomsHockey.com is still the home of the ADIRONDACK Phantoms!

I thought for a while that the folks in New York could be holding this up.  Or, maybe the AHL was giving them problems. But the new Adirondack team–the Flames–have a web site!  Local fans need a better source of information about the team, the games, and better links to the ticket and arena sites.  They need info directly from the team about the parking situation.  Plus, they’re losing an income stream, I’d think.  The web site is an advertising source!  Just like the MiLB, the AHL has a standard design/template.  I’d think the Lehigh Valley Phantoms could drop their info in there and get it up and running.  It can always be fine-tuned.

And, another thing:  Season Ticket Holders still don’t have their tickets yet.  Wilkes-Barre Scranton has had theirs for weeks.  There’s a ticket pick-up event on Sunday.  But, what if you’re busy?  You can make arrangements to pick up the tickets next week, but only until about 5:30PM they say.  What if you work late or are coming from out of town? Remember, the ticket box office is part of the arena, and not part of the Phantoms.  Single game tickets are purchased from the arena; season ticket holders purchase directly from the team, and need to picked up from the team.  It’s going to be a zoo on Friday night as many of the season ticket holders descend on the arena, without tickets.  They should set up a table out in the plaza that night, to get a jump on things before the doors open.

And, they should get more gear.  I think they underestimate the appetite of the local community for team-related items.  Take a walk around at an IronPigs game and the amount of team-emblazoned clothing is unbelievable.  Take a walk around in Moosic, and you’ll have a hard time knowing what park you’re in, by the clothing being worn.  We’ll buy stuff, but it has to be available.

And what about Chickie’s and Pete’s?  I know this is an “arena thing” and not a “phantoms thing,” but it’s either open or it’s not.  Let’s go.  It’s only open if you’re holding a microphone?  It’s only open for private parties?  Only the LEFT side is open, but there’s no menu?  It’s only open if you’re on the radio?  Let’s go!  Fix it!  We keep hearing about how this was “in the works for ten years.”  They even had an extra year when the poorly-written legislation had to be modified to appease the surrounding communities vis-a-vis tax withholding.

Wanna know my favorite Phantoms memory?  It’s when I picked up my season tickets! (wait…)

Wanna see a picture of my pet?  Well, if you had the appropriate pet-gear in stock at a store that I could get to without standing in line, perhaps my dogs would have Phantoms jerseys by now.  But, no.

Wanna have a scavenger hunt?  Sure.  Let’s see if you can find my tickets in there someplace.  Let’s see who can find a menu for Chickie’s and Pete’s?

One of the things I’ve always been critical about with the IronPigs is lack-of or poor communication.  It’s not that they DO the wrong thing, it’s that they often don’t SAY the right thing.  (ie: “rain or shine event” and “no autographs” and “no water bottles” etc.)  It’s a case for communication, and in 2014 there’s really no excuse for not communicating with your best customers–and your potential ones as well.  Gotta let us know what’s going on, is all I’m saying.

OK, OK, I’ll calm down.  We’ll get through this.  I’ll enjoy an adult beverage with lunch.  But you have to admit, we’ve been patient.  And, they need to “Fix It.”

“Take your cue from me now
I’m saying baby, lets go
Will you listen to me?
I’m saying baby, come on now
Let’s go ’cause we can’t hold back no more
There’s no way”

–Wang Chung

So, how YOU doin’?

@Kram209

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Phantoms Phormulating Phor Success

Goalies, Captains, and Road-Trips:  (oh, my!)

Following the news of the official opening-day Phantoms roster yesterday, word trickled forth that veteran net-minder Rob Zepp had been named the starting goalie for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  As soon as today, I’d expect we’ll hear who will wear the ‘C’ and the ‘A’s.

Led by Zepp

The 33-year old Zepp has extensive experience in Europe, but has actually played very little in the AHL previously.  Even though young Anthony Stolarz is considered the top goalie prospect in the Flyers’ system, it does make sense to have Zepp prepare in the case that he’s needed in Philadelphia.  It’s somewhat like catchers in baseball, where a team will always need at least two of these specialized players active.  However, one of the differences may be that a goalie will need to stay active to remain sharp.  Head Coach Terry Murray did say that Stolarz will see playing time regularly, as well.  I expect if Zepp were called to Philly, that Stolarz would make the regular starts.

O Captain! My Captain!

Speculation by broadcaster Bob Rotruck is that defenseman Brandon Manning will garner the ‘C’ for the newly formed Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  Manning played in 73 games last season for the Adirondack version of the team, and logged 231 penalty minutes to go with 8 goals and 23 assists.  The ‘A’s could also be sported by veterans–perhaps Oliver Lauridsen and Darroll Powe are in the mix.

Road Trip

If you want to see the first ever official game by our new Phantoms, you’ll have to make the drive up to Wilkes-Barre to see them at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  In a nice bit of cross promotion, I received an email from the WBS Pens yesterday with ticketing information.  It’s a nice touch to promote the rivalry, and something I’ve said that the IronPigs and RailRiders should be doing.  Since I don’t think it’s a secret, I’ll copy the info below.  There are still good seats available for the game; give the dude a call to make sure you’re sitting in prime position for the Phantoms attack!

For my part, I haven’t ruled out going–but I’ve a bunch of other commitments earlier in the day on Saturday which may make the trip too daunting.  It’s very tempting, though…I may just run up there last minute if I’m up to it!

pens promo

 

 

Officially announced today by the AHL:  Utica will host the AHL All Star Classic.  I wonder how long until the PPL Center hosts?  Gotta get some track record, I suppose–but I bet it’ll be soon.

Perhaps we’ll see you in Wilkes Barre!

@Kram209

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Minor League Baseball Transactions

Early October is the time of year that player movement usually begins at the minor league level. With the Arizona Fall League set to begin their season on Tuesday, October 7 we can follow some of the junior Phillies playing this year for the Scottsdale Scorpions. This is a list of who the Phillies will be sending to the AFL:
First, and probably most important to the 2015 Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, LHP Adam Morgan will be continuing his rehab at Scottsdale. Morgan made 13 starts for the Ironpigs in 2013 then missed all of 2014 after having shoulder surgery in January. Other Phillies headed to he AFL include Roman Quinn, 21 year old switch hitting center fielder, Logan Moore, 24 year old catcher who split time in 2014 between Clearwater and Reading, Ethan Stewart, 23 year old LHP was 5-7 at Clearwater last year, Colton Murray, 24 year old RH relief pitcher pitched at Clearwater and Reading last year, Ryan O’Sullivan RHP was 7-8 3.91 with Reading in 2014 and Nefi Ogando a 25 year old RH relief pitcher who was 5-1 6.27 with 7 Saves at Reading last year.

In other Phillies minor league transactions according to Matt Eddy at Baseball America, 3 players have elected free agency, Jeff Manship, Jeremy Horst and Reid Brignac. All 3 would be missed if they sign elsewhere for the 2015 season.

A few other familiar minor league names who have already elected free agency this offseason include Dan Johnson, Corey Brown, Elliot Johnson, Jair Jurrjens, Michael Martinez, Jeff Francoeur and Ryan Feierabend.

The Winter Meetings this year will be December 8-11 in San Diego.

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Phantoms Announce Opening Roster

Seven players were assigned to the Reading Royals of the ECHL today, from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster.  That brings the roster to 22, which is about what it should be this time of year, with most relatively healthy.  Recall, there is no roster limit in the AHL, just however many players you can afford to pay…

At any rate, the players sent to Reading were:

Forwards: Andrew Johnston, Marcel Noebels, and Matt Hatch

Defensman: Max Lamarche

Goaltenders: Connor Knapp and Martin Ouellette

Here’s the official roster from the Phantoms.  It’s a photo file–I’ll attempt to size for one sheet of paper for printing:

Phantoms Roster

 

I’ll try to get some player capsules and pictures up later, in advance of the road opener on Saturday in Wilkes-Barre.  Anyone going to that one?

 

How ya doin’

@Kram209

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Phantoms Game Report: “The More Things Change… “

“Change changing places
Root yourself to the ground…”

 

–Yes

The Phantoms lost to the Albany Devils last night, 2-1.  It felt eerily familiar.  

A face-off--seen from the 106. Photo: @Kram209

A face-off–seen from the 106.
Photo: @Kram209

Let me take you back to 2008:  Politicians and business-people alike were thrilled and amazed by the gorgeous new baseball stadium.  There wasn’t a bad seat in the house, and we had affiliated baseball for the first time since the early ’60s.  The Phillies even came up to get a practice game in.

Then, the season started.  11 straight losses.  I remember speaking to folks early on who refused to go over to the brand new facility because the team was so hapless.  “Why bother?” they said.  “Buch of losers.”

Full Ice View, from the Miller Light Loft-- Photo: @Kram209

Full Ice View, from the Miller Light Loft–
Photo: @Kram209

Fast forward to 2014:  Politicians and power-brokers are thrilled with the new multi-million-dollar arena facility in downtown Allentown.  Revitalization is in full-swing.  Arms are being sprained, as folks congratulate themselves on the arena and (poorly written) legislation which made it all possible.  Downtown Allentown is a-buzz.  And, yes, I think it’s great, all things considered.

But our rag-tag hockey team is 0-3 on the pre-season.  Are we headed toward another 0-11 start?  Is this the 2008 ‘Pigs all over again?  One can’t help but wonder….

Gostisbehere leads the charge.  Taken from the Miller Light Loft. Photo: @Kram209

Gostisbehere leads the charge. Taken from the Miller Light Loft.
Photo: @Kram209

Here are my thoughts, as the Phantoms wrap up an 0-3 preseason:

  • I might need to call for an emergency meeting of the “SuperFans.”  Look for the “Pig Head” Bat-Signal in the sky near you…
  • Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not really that worried.  Some, yes.  But my experience with Minor League sports over the past seven years is:  Talent always wins in the end.  And this Phantoms team does have talent.
  • And this team has some veteran experience, too.  Guys like Zach Stortini and Jay Rosehill will make sure that this team won’t get pushed around.  That reminds me…
  • …. after the game, one of the Devils asked the big forward Stortini if he had any goals scored in the game.  This was his response:  “No. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
  • Just kidding.  That was from “Taken.”  But let me just say, that other teams best not mess with Zach, his family, or his teammates. He’s just not going to take it. I don’t think Jay Rosehill will, either.
  • The Phantoms are getting shots, though.  And, to my eye, they are reasonably good shots.  They’ll go in, eventually.  The young, talented defenders will set things up better from the blue line.  The fore-check will improve.  The power play will improve.  I have faith.
  • But, no matter how well you shoot and how well you control the puck, at the end of the day:  You’ve got to put the biscuit in the basket to win games.  I hope we have some scorers on this team.
  • I say “No Timmies” if we lose.  That’s the punishment fellas.  ;-)
  • This losing makes me want to throw my glasses on the set…
  • Chickie’s and Pete’s had a “soft” opening after the puck dropped yesterday.  It’s nice in there.  I wish we could have heard the post-game show over the dance music.  It was too loud.  Also, get off my yard you whippersnappers.  Perhaps the pre-game show will be more useful for game-goers, and old cranky guys.
  • Just short of 6,000 in the stands yesterday. Still really comfortable amount of people.  It’ll be a zoo for the opener, though.  I think when it gets up over 8K is when it’ll feel really “tight.”
  • Radio reception in the arena via FM-89.9 worked well from the Miller Light Loft.  Radio voice Bob Rotruck said it might not work as well in the main concourse under the press box.  I didn’t get a chance to test it there, yet.  Stay tuned.  I did enjoy listening during the game, though.
  • There were A LOT of on-street parking spaces available on my commute in.  This could be a pattern for weekend games.  And, since they don’t run meters after 6PM–it’s a real option for saving some money. More to come on that issue.
  • 24-oz “bomber” cans of beer are available on the main concourse near section 103.  They’re $9 and available as Yuengling Lager and Coors Light.  An extra buck or two for Heineken.  At concerts, they had Miller Lite, too, but it hasn’t reappeared.  This is the best beer-deal in the arena, I think.
  • Miller Light Loft has mixed drinks and wine.  They’ve got beer, too, and I think they might stay open throughout the game–where other outlets may close following the second intermission.  Please don’t drink and drive.  And, be careful:  No matter how much you drink up there, you’re going to have to traverse a few sets of stairs to get down out of there–unless you have a ticket in the suites, where there are elevators.
My guy Gostisbehere.  Gonna be a good one, I think.   Photo: @Kram209

My guy Gostisbehere. Gonna be a good one, I think.
Photo: @Kram209

“Capitalize on this good fortune
One word can bring you round
Changes”

 

–Yes

How you doin’

@Kram209

 

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Game Day: @LVPhantoms versus @AlbanyDevils – Printable Roster

The Devils’ affiliate is in town for the final tune-up game before the regular season.  Here’s what you need to know about the game this evening:

Game Time: 7:05PM

Doors: 6:05PM

Radio/TV:  AM-1470/IHeardRadio App/Service Electric TV 2;FM-89.9 (in the PPL Center only)

Pregame: Radio: 6:20PM, TV: 6:30PM

Parking: Best advice is HERE ; Interactive map is HERE.

News and Notes:

  • Phantoms lost to the Bears again last night–again out-shooting them and dominating play for much of the game.  However, failure to convert chances, and a couple quick goals in the third again led to a loss.
  • It’s not clear if the waived players will be available for the game tonight:  VandeVelde, Rosehill, and Zepp.  Speculation is that Rosehill may not pass through waivers, but we’ll see.
  • ICYMI:  Season Ticket pickup starts with an “event” at the arena and Chickie’s and Pete’s on Sunday 10/12.  If you can’t make it, I assume, thereafter at the ticket office–but we’re checking on that.
  • ICYMI:  Single game pre-sale continues for Season Ticket Holders through later tonight.  Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday morning.
  • Fees:  Single game ticket fees are the same for phone orders and web orders, I learned yesterday.  The phone reps can offer a little more flexibility in seating choices, but my impression was, that their system is a little clunky as well–they don’t get a really good view of what’s available and what’s not.  It’s not clear if they will be able to improve this in the future.  It’s also not clear whether the fees are any different if you purchase the tickets at the box office, in person.  Stay tuned.
  • Photos:  Restrictions on photography within the PPL Center, as well as some limitations within the Horn and Bell Blog Staff, have led to fewer photos posted for the Phantoms.  I’ll try to grab some tonight, myself.  However, if readers out there have photos they’d like to contribute, please send them along to Kramof209@gmail.com and I’ll put the good ones up–with credit.  Watermark as necessary, and low-res is fine.  We can’t pay anything, but you’ll receive photo credit.  Please contribute only your own work–we try really hard to resist stealing others’ property.

Roster:

I scoured the web for info on the Phantoms’ Roster.  This is a confluence of that information. Print it out and take it to the game if you like.  I assume more and better roster stuff will be forthcoming, but you might find this helpful (click on it for high res):

Phantoms Roster 1004

 

See you at the arena,

@Kram209 (106)

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