The Phantoms lost to the worst team in the league yesterday. Kram is not happy.
Yesterday’s game started about how I thought it might. We left the comforts of the Kram Kave early–listening to the end of the football game on the radio–so that we’d be in our seats for the start of the game. I told Kram3 why: The return of the great Stortini. There might be fireworks right off the face off…
…and there were. Storts challenged Gilly right away, and Gilly “answered the bell” as he told reporters after the game. He also remains undefeated, as he quickly dispatched the mighty Stortini. I admit I didn’t cheer as loudly as I could have–and it wasn’t so much for the fact that it was Stortini, but rather that I saw the referee immediately call for the trainer. Losing a fight is one thing–life-altering injury is another. Ultimately, Storts was woosey, and escorted to the locker room. That was the last we’d see of….
BUT WAIT! He’s back on the ice. Was he OK? Did he know where he was? Does he think he’s Batman? He ended up scoring two goals and getting the first star of the game, so it’s pretty clear he was confused and shouldn’t have been playing. 😉
But jokes aside, the Phantoms need to get this cleaned up and they need to do it fast. Look, a three-loss weekend is hard to take for the local hockey fans–so I’m cranky. It’s time:
- …to stop complaining about the injuries. Guys are coming back, and everyone is getting a pay check. It’s time to go out there, put on the big-boy skates, and get two points. I do think we’ve missed Cousins, though.
- …to stop with the excuses about the “new system.” Many of these guys are veterans, and they’ve all been playing hockey for a long time. Wilkes-Barre has a new coach, too, and they don’t seem to have any trouble winning or learning a “new system.”
- …to ignore “how many games in how many days” and such. Other teams have it too. Binghamton came in at the end of 3/3 also yesterday–and they traveled TWICE to our ONCE. I can’t say we out-hustled them or looked like the fresher team.
- …to clean up the special teams. First it was a horrible penalty kill, and now it seems like the power play is clueless. They were lucky to get the Brent goal in the 5-on-3 yesterday, and couldn’t even get a shot on the ensuing 5-on-4.
- …to play the goalie that gives us the best chance to win. More on this later, but the sample sizes are now big enough–or you can just watch the games–to know who should be starting in goal. And it should be every night unless he needs a break. I’ve seen enough of “Malibu Barbie;” I’m ready for some shots of Stoli!
- …to stay out of the box. We were doing OK with this for a while, but yesterday we seemed to fall into that same old pattern of sloppy play and retaliation. Perhaps it was lowering to the level of the opponent or perhaps it was the refs–but it can’t happen if we want to win hockey games.
- …to get some quality shots. I know, I’m the first to say, “Get the puck on net.” But hammering it into the goalie’s chest 30 times isn’t the way to win the game most nights.
- …to wear the orange jerseys at home. C’mon–it’s supposed to be Friday nights, right? Let’s go; we need the mojo.
- …to realize winning is important. They all kind of thought they played well yesterday. At least no one said, “I’m not worried about the results.” *cough*Billingsley*cough*
- …to pay attention to details. For a team that thought they played well, I saw an awful lot of pucks jumping over sticks. I get it; hockey is hard. I couldn’t do it. But I want playoff hockey so, so much–I can’t stand it. It gets me riled up when I have to endure three losses in one weekend. I do have an investment in this team, you know.
- …for some locker room speeches. Hey, maybe that stuff only works in the movies, but when the coach says, “We weren’t ready to play in the first period*”–well, that’s on you, coach. Get them ready to play.
- …to put it out there on the ice. We’re all in this together: The PA guy is in the hospital, Ben has to sing his own music, the video board was broken, the force-energy team is getting the cheers started every five seconds, and I’m missing football and arguing with the parking people–we all just want to get a win, and everything will be right with the world.
So here’s hoping they go up to Binghamton on Wednesday and get those points back–and that they’re “ready to play” Friday and Saturday at the PPL Center against Rochester and Albany.
And if you think I’m complaining too much, well, how about if we just turn that scoreboard off and play for fun instead, huh?
I didn’t think so.
See you at the arena,
*Exclusive quote given to Highland Park Hockey‘s Tony Anrockitis following Sunday’s loss to the Syracuse Crunch–he was the one who made the trip up to Syracuse.