“You do not play hockey for good seasons. You play to win the Stanley Cup. It has to be the objective.”
Welcome back to hockey!
The Regular season starts tonight as the Phantoms face off on their third campaign at 7th and Hamilton. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for tonight’s game:
0-0 and tied for first? Nope. 0-0 and tied for last, as Hartford won last night. Other game and team details can be found in my “Hockey Eve” post from last night–there was just too much going on to wait for “Hockey Night!”
A full roster post with player capsules can be found HERE.
My expected lines for tonight. I’m thinking Bards gets another week to heal:
10 Carey – 21 Miele – 22 Conner
23 Leier – 40 Weal – 13 McDonald
18 Martel – 7 Zengerle – 16 Aube-Kubel
24 Straka – 19 Fazleev – 14 Knight
3 Morin – 8 O’Neill
4 Hagg – 6 Sanheim
44 Willcox – 43 Brennan
41 Stolarz (34 Lyon)
Scratches: Bardreau, Goulbourne, Mathers, Lamarche, Pettersson
Down in Reading, the Royals open tonight at the Santander with the Elmira Jackals, a team they faced twice in the preseason. Boom-Boom sticks are the giveaway tonight. A roster for the Royals can be found HERE.
Springfield is in town–now the Thunderbirds, AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. Their new logo is ugly, but the jerseys don’t look too bad at first glance. Florida has some prospects on this team, but it’s not known if the team will be any good this season.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Doors: 5:30PM – As we continue with the early open on Saturday nights! Good stuff! (Pre-event email says 5:30–PPL Center website says 6:00PM. YMMV.)
Tickets and Parking: Seats are still available, but going fast. I recommend purchasing before you head downtown. My Parking Manifesto has been updated for the 2016-17 season, but a late correction needs to be added: Government Deck at 4th/Hamilton is now regular deck rules: ticket, pay as you leave. Shuttle status unknown. Also note that parking and traffic in the neighborhood of 6th/Linden might be a little extra tight tonight as Symphony Hall opens their season as well, with Grammy winning Jazz Saxophonist Branford Marsalis.
Broadcast Information: TV locally on SECTV-2. Radio on 1470-AM and in the arena on FM-89.9. If the game is pre-empted for any reason on 1470, then check 790.
Media Kit: springfield-1015
Promotion: Rally Towel giveaway to first 8,500. Special menu item is somebody else’ dog–that’s right, “Nacho Dog” at the Hot Dog Nation stand outside the Morning Call Club.
Pre-game: Radio goes on the air at 6:20PM for your drive downtown. TV pregame live from the soundstage inside Chickie’s and Pete’s at 6:30PM. I’ll likely grab a spot at the bar at Chickie’s and eat clams until the doors open. Stop by and say ‘hello.’ Gonna hafta be early on a Saturday–prob by 4:30 at the latest for a table, but things should move quickly if 5:30 doors are correct.
Note as above, Symphony Hall event tonight as well, so Hook usually gets a good crowd from that. BTW, as an old saxophone guy, I’d be at Symphony Hall tonight myself if it weren’t for hockey opening night. He plays tomorrow at 3PM as well, I believe.
What To Watch
- Watch Stoli: I think he’ll bounce back nicely from a poor pre-season showing which came on the heels of a whirlwind call to Philadelphia via New York.
- Watch for the opening-day sweaters. I’ve heard there will be a special jersey tonight.
- Check for a silent auction table if you’re into the game-worn jerseys. Will they start selling off the “blood-orange” pre-season shirts?
- Check out the team store. I saw a bunch of cool name-brand stuff in there the other day. Remember to present your ticket for your STH discount.
- Get there early if you haven’t picked up your season tickets yet.
- Watch the second line. Weal is the latest add to the roster, and only played 14 games last season. He did play in the preseason–and did “well”–but see how he looks paired with Leier and Captain McDonald.
- Check out the power play and the penalty kill. Will they run the conventional PP like they did in pre-season? Brennan up top with…? What about a second unit? If we go to OT, what kind of 3-man squads will we feature?
- Watch Morin. How does his skating look? Is he playing a decisive, physical game?
- Watch Sanheim. That kid is special–and fun to watch. We got cheated out of Gostisbehere, so enjoy Sanheim.
- Watch that third line too. The speedy Martel on one wing and the young, talented Aube-Kubel on the other, centered by veteran Zengerle. That should be fun to watch as well.
- If Goulbourne or Mathers get onto that fourth line, watch to see if any Springfield players are foolish enough to challenge them to fisticuffs.
This is the only game for the Phantoms this weekend. They’ll stay in town and prepare for two home games next weekend, Friday and Saturday. Friday Bridgeport will be in town, Saturday Hartford. They’ll be on the road for three games Halloween weekend.
See you at the arena,