Digging Out

It’s not just for snow anymore….
The Captain, Colin McDonald, is a big reason for the Phantoms' recent resurgence. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

The Captain, Colin McDonald, is a big reason for the Phantoms’ recent resurgence.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell


1 TOR 47 36 8 3 0 75 0.798
2 WBS 44 29 13 1 1 60 0.682
3 ALB 43 24 12 7 0 55 0.640
4 HER 46 24 13 3 6 57 0.620
5 POR 43 26 16 1 0 53 0.616
6 PRO 44 20 15 8 1 49 0.557
7 BRI 45 23 19 2 1 49 0.544
8 UTI 43 20 17 3 3 46 0.535
9 HFD 45 23 20 2 0 48 0.533
10 SYR 45 19 17 8 1 47 0.522
11 STJ 45 19 17 6 3 47 0.522
12 LV 46 22 21 2 1 47 0.511
13 RCH 45 21 21 2 1 45 0.500
14 SPR 44 17 22 2 3 39 0.443
15 BNG 43 17 23 3 0 37 0.430

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have been hot lately–despite the driving snow.  They won 5 straight games going into the All Star Break–in case you hadn’t heard–which means 10 points out of a possible 10!

Yet, when you look at the standings above, you can see that our Hamilton Street Heroes are still on the outside looking in.  With some deference to divisional standings, only the top 8 teams make the Calder Cup tournament at the end of the season.  Yes, “the playoffs.”  It’s been so long since the Phantoms were involved, it’s easy to forget what they are–unless you’re a season ticket holder and you’ve already paid for some of those games. 😉

Nevertheless, it’s good to be above .500.  It’s good to be playing good hockey; it’s more fun to watch than bad hockey, you know.  And we’re not the worst team in the league–The poor Moose in Manitoba.  Such a cool team with cool uniforms and a top-notch goalie, but a dreadful record.

And we keep hearing our team talk about playoffs.  I don’t know as the writers bring it up that often–the TV guys on “Breaking the Ice” do from time to time–but the players and coaches still maintain it as their stated goal.  The management of the team also brings it up from time to time.  All this despite the fact that we’ve not been ranked in an appropriate position at any point this season, and really haven’t for years.

Also, remember last season.  Forward Nick Cousins and his AHL “Player of the Month” honors in January, along with veterans Ryan White and Blair Jones, had us climbing the charts then, too.  Alas it wasn’t to be; the hole was too deep.  We were too far behind and didn’t have the ability to dig ourselves out of the hole.

So here we are again.  In the hole.  Digging out.  Do we have what it takes to make it?  Am I allowed to use the pronoun ‘we?’  Or, is the hole just too deep for the Hamilton Street Heroes?

Here are some answers:

  1. I don’t know if we have what it takes, but if we can stay healthy and continue to stay out of the penalty box, there’s certainly a chance.
  2. It’s fine for the players, coaches, and management to have this goal.  They’d laugh me out of the clubhouse if I started talking playoffs on April 4 at Coca Cola Park (media day).  The fact that they’re focused on that goal and willing to talk about it means that they are on board as much as we are.  They’re “worried about the results” in MLB pitcher rehab parlance.
  3. As a footnote:  Additional ‘openings’ for playoffs could be lucrative for the organization.  Plus, as pointed out above, lots of us have already paid for a couple games via our Season Ticket contract.  A new twist:  There’s news that the financial rewards could be even greater for the organizations who host and sell-out AHL playoff games.  I don’t know exactly how it works or when it starts, but you can be sure the Phantoms would be able to sell out a couple playoff games.  After all, they were out-drawing the IronPigs last April after having been eliminated from Cup contention.
  4. I can use “we” because of the time and money I’ve spent on this team.  😉  I know, I don’t have a say in the starting lineup and there’s no way anyone would let me on the ice, let alone hold a stick.  But we’re all in this together.  We all want the same thing.  We all want playoff hockey so bad we can taste it, which brings me to…

…My favorite story about being in a hole:


The way out:

  1. Keep scoring goals.
  2. Keep winning games.
  3. Don’t get pushed around.
  4. Keep up the strong goaltending.
  5. Don’t let up.



See you at the arena,


Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

1 reply

  1. Note To Kram :

    As we have discussed “off-camera” before, a couple of weeks ago, our blog buddy Tony Androckitis calculated that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms would need to take 22 wins from their final 34 games in order to be able to surpass the team that was holding fourth place in the AHL standings at that point in time (Providence Bruins). Androck described the prospect of winning twenty-two of the final thirty-four games as “no easy task”. Since that article was published, the Phantoms have won four games on the trot — and are still stuck in 7th place in the division standings!


    I certainly believe Androck was very much in the neighborhood with his 22-12 projection and so along those lines that means the magic numbers would be 18-12 … I still look at that prospect as rather unrealistic, myself.

    In fact, I stand by what I wrote earlier – that the “Star Wars” game on January 10th against the lowly Binghamton Senators would accurately foreshadow whether or not the Phantoms would be able to qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs … just to review, the B-Sens won that game 2-1.

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