It’s the ‘Night Before Hockey’ and all through the Queen City: News and notes to get you ready before ‘Hockey Night.’
“I think it’s higher than just making the playoffs. We’re already talking, we’re thinking nothing but Calder Cup.”
-Colin McDonald, Phantoms Captain, as told to Stephen Gross, The Morning Call
I ran a poll recently (HERE) asking what the fan base would be happy with for this season. Keeping in mind that the sample is skewed to our readers here at the Horn and Bell–perhaps a group a bit more ravenous than the average fan–so the results really surprised me. As of this morning, more than 50% of the voting was for only making the playoffs and not winning. In other words, just happy to be there. Keeping in mind that playoffs is something achieved by over 57% of the teams in the division, it seems to me that losing in the first round of the playoffs might be quite disappointing. Heck, we might be able to make it with a losing record!
I’m not ready to say ‘Calder or Bust’ because I haven’t seen the other teams yet–and it’s a long season and the parent club can mess this up for us. Plus, we’ve been through this kind of thing before, on the baseball side. Of course, I’m always overly optimistic at this point in a season. But really, if we don’t win at least one playoff series this season with this talent, I’m going to be disappointed. And this is not to say the regular season isn’t important, because getting a higher seed will be crucial in winning that first series.
Real Men Wear Pink
As of this writing, Phantoms’ forward Cole Bardreau is 65% of the way to his goal of raising money to battle breast cancer this month. Click Here to read more, and to contribute!
There are a few new players downtown since we last visited on hockey nights. One is Sugar Hill Jazz House on South 9th Street. It’s BBQ and Southern food, I understand.
Another is in the location of the former Shula’s Steak House. It’s Queen City BBQ, and it’s run by the same folks who run grain. down the street, and The Bayou in Bethlehem. I haven’t been, yet, but one of the things I’ve heard is that they’re going “reservations only” on event nights–much to the dismay of some friends who tried to stop by early the other night. I know they were disappointed, but if the grain/Bayou folks want to make sure their service is up to it, it’s probably the way to go. And I’ve always had super service in grain. Just take a look at the reviews for the excellent Dime Restaurant some time. They’ve been very good when I’ve visited, but on some event nights they get over-booked and everything goes sideways–and that doesn’t help anyone. I’ll have a QCBBQ review upcoming.
Finally, the former Crust Coal Fired Pizza will soon be 99 Bottles Gastro Pub. It’s not open yet, but coal fired specialties and 66 beers and 33 whiskies have been promoted already. We’ll keep you posted.
As we kick off the season, the Flyers are flying with only 6 healthy/non-suspended blue-liners, so the Phantoms have kept Pettersson, Willcox, and Lamarche around as depth, should another d-man get the call to catch a plane to the west coast or to Philly over the first few games. There will be three forward scratches tomorrow night as well. Mathers, likely, with a couple others slotted for fourth line duty. It’s not completely clear if Cole Bardreau, recovering from abdominal surgery, has been cleared to play; he has been practicing full contact.
A full roster overview, including demos, contracts and outlook for each player, can be found HERE.
Breaking The Ice
Breaking The Ice returns to Chickie’s and Pete’s on Monday nights. This Monday at 7PM the captain, Colin McDonald will be live on the soundstage for the Service Electric TV-2 Sports show. I’ve been told that the audio will be heard in the restaurant, making it worth the trip. In the past, you could enjoy the show better at home.
The Official Phan Club of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms has a completely re-designed web home, as well as a custom logo from the team. The site includes fan forums, event news, polls, and other goodies. Check it out if you haven’t done so already, and consider joining as well! The next meeting is this Wednesday the 19th at Chickie’s. C’mon out and you can join on site!
We certainly enjoyed the “blood orange” preseason sweaters, but word has come my way that tomorrow there will be a special jersey for opening night. I’ve also heard tell of an Ed Snider commemorative jersey on the night when he will be honored, October 21. As far as I know, they’ll all be auctioned, and likely via eBay as per most recently. Stay tuned!
It’s tomorrow, and I’ll have a full preview for you before the game.
See you at the arena,