“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd Club, or C.B.G.B.
[Phantoms] ain’t got time for that now”
Yes, the improving Lehigh Valley Phantoms are certainly to be commended for stringing together a couple of wins this week after first shutting out the Hartford Wolf Pack in Connecticut on Wednesday morning and then downing the Providence Bruins in Rhode Island on Friday night. Indeed, these two noteworthy accomplishments marked the very first time after eight American Hockey League games played this season that Hamilton Street Heroes have actually been able to post back to back victories, and the results also hauled head coach Scott Gordon’s club back to level ground in terms of four overall wins against four overall losses. Make no mistake, however, this is certainly no time for the Phantoms to be celebrating or otherwise comfortably resting upon imaginary laurels — if the season had ended at the conclusion of AHL play last night, Lehigh Valley would be finding themselves stuck in fifth place and on the outside looking in at the coveted Calder Cup playoff competition.
Meanwhile, perhaps the biggest news this week as far as hockey fans in the Mecca Of Minor League Sports were concerned arrived when it was announced that former Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Scott Laughton was rejoining his old AHL club after being sent down on a conditioning assignment the Philadelphia Flyers. The 22-year-old center /left wing who was the 20th overall player taken in the first round of the 2012 National Hockey League Draft had not appeared for Lehigh Valley since the end of the 2014/15 campaign. He spent all of last season in the NHL with Philadelphia. Laughton had not played at all this fall since getting injured during training camp and, unvarnished truth be told, did not exactly sparkle in pre-season prior to that development. There had even been some speculation during training camp that the the former 1st round pick might not survive the Flyers’ final cut.
Laughton, who registered 14 goals and 27 points to go along with a rather unsightly – 16 defensive rating in 39 AHL games for the Hamilton Street Heroes during Lehigh Valley’s historic 2014/15 campaign, skated on what amounted to a third Phantoms scoring line during Friday night’s contest with the cellar-dwelling P-Bruins :
Kram’s spies who took in Friday evening’s action in New England first hand have reported observing a lot of rust on the Laughton vehicle at present, although it must be prominently mentioned that the player still officially listed on the Philadelphia Flyers’ Long Term Injured Reserve did come through with a vital empty net tally which sealed a 4-2 deal in favor of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Word on the street here in Allentown is that Laughton’s ‘conditioning stint’ with the Phantoms is only expected to last two AHL games, although it is extremely hard to believe that the Flyers’ former first round pick will actually be able to attain anything even close to NHL ‘game shape’ by making just two appearances with a limited amount of ice time here with Lehigh Valley. And then there is the question of how the Broad Street Bullies plan to make the salary cap room that would be required in order to activate Laughton – but perhaps that subject would be better left for another day.
The bottom line is that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are in the midst of building upon what is now a fragile momentum. It should be remembered that Gordon’s Guys are on a mission to qualify the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate for the annual Calder Cup playoffs for the very first time in eight long years. So, in other words, the last thing that the Hamilton Street Heroes need right about now is some “Chad Billingsley disciple” who is not necessarily concerned about results.
Categories: Phantoms Hockey